LONDON: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been dragged out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London where he has spent the last seven years. That’s after Ecuador’s president Moreno withdrew asylum.
That’s only a day after WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief Kristinn Hrafnsson claimed that an extensive spying operation was conducted against Assange in the Ecuadorian Embassy. During an explosive media conference Hrafnsson alleged that the operation was designed to get Assange extradited.
Assange’s relationship with Ecuadorian officials appeared increasingly strained since the current president came to power in the Latin American country in 2017. His internet connection was cut off in March of last year, with officials saying the move was to stop Assange from “interfering in the affairs of other sovereign states.”
Assange garnered massive international attention in 2010 when WikiLeaks released classified US military footage.
The footage, as well as US war logs from Iraq and Afghanistan and more than 200,000 diplomatic cables, were leaked to the site by US Army soldier Chelsea Manning. She was tried by a US tribunal and sentenced to 35 years in jail for disclosing the materials.
Manning was pardoned by outgoing President Barack Obama in 2017 after spending seven years in US custody. She is currently being held again in a US jail for refusing to testify before a secret grand jury in a case apparently related to WikiLeaks.
Assange’s seven-year stay at the Ecuadorian Embassy was motivated by his concern that he may face similarly harsh prosecution by the US for his role in publishing troves of classified US documents over the years.