Australian computer programmer and whistleblower, Julian Assange, has been arrested by British police. Assange, who is the editor of WikiLeaks, had been residing at the Ecuadorian embassy in London since August 2012. He had sought asylum from the South American nation after allegations of sexual assault were made against him in Sweden.
Assange and his supporters had been wary of Swedish court proceedings, believing that attempts to deport him to Sweden were politically motivated and could, in turn, have led to him being deported to the US where he could face severe penalties, up to the death sentence, for his activities related to WikiLeaks.
On the 19th May 2017, Swedish authorities dropped their investigation against Assange, and chief prosecutor Marianne Ny officially revoked his arrest warrant.
In 2006, Assange helped to create WikiLeaks, which published secret information, news leaks, and classified media from anonymous sources.
Assange and WikiLeaks drew global attention when it began publishing some of the 750,000 classified, and unclassified but sensitive, documents supplied by Chelsea Manning, who had been working for the US Army as an intelligence analyst.
These military and diplomatic files included details on Guantánamo Bay and information on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
A week ago, WikiLeaks members revealed that “a high-level source within the Ecuadorian” state had informed them that Assange would be expelled from the Ecuadorian Embassy within “hours to days”.
They claimed that a scandal regarding President of Ecuador Lenín Moreno was being used as a pretext for his expulsion from the embassy and that Ecuador had made an agreement with the UK regarding his arrest.
In February 2019, one of Moreno’s political opponents claimed to have anonymously been handed a dossier of leaked documents that allegedly exposed corruption in which Moreno profited from a deal with a Chinese firm.
The tranche of supposedly revealing files has been dubbed the INA Papers, after one of the shell companies allegedly used to channel the money, INA Investments Corp.
On February the 19th, Ecuadorian newspaper Le Fuente published details from the INA Papers and, three days later, a website called INApapers.org was anonymously founded. The website published pages from the INA Papers, as well as information supposedly obtained by hacking the email accounts of individuals including Moreno and his wife. As well as emails, information was also apparently obtained from hundreds of thousands of email attachments, phone logs, text messages, messages, WhatsApp and Telegram texts.
On March the 28th, WikiLeaks referenced the alleged corruption and subsequent legal investigation in a tweet, which linked to INApapers.org.
Moreno says Ecuador withdrew Assange’s asylum after repeated violations of international conventions, while the Met Police said he was arrested for failing to surrender to the court and following a US extradition request.
A WikiLeaks member stated that the termination of Assange’s asylum was illegal and that, ultimately, he “has been arrested in relation to a US extradition request for ‘conspiracy with Chelsea Manning’ for publishing Iraq War Logs, Cablegate, Afghan War Logs – precisely the persecution for which he was granted asylum under the 1951 Refugee Convention in 2012”.