Arrest
London police have said that Assange was apprehended outside the Embassy of Ecuador and is set to appear in court "as soon as possible."
Photo courtesy: Cancillería del Ecuador/Flickr CC by SA 2.0

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been arrested in central London, the Metropolitan Police wrote on Twitter on Thursday.

He was apprehended outside the Embassy of Ecuador, where he had been evading an extradition request from Sweden since June 2012. Assange was wanted by Stockholm over claims he sexually assaulted two women in 2010. The Swedish case against him lapsed in 2017, but he is still wanted in the UK for skipping bail.

He was granted asylum by Ecuador in 2012 and made a citizen of that country in 2017.

Assange has denied the allegations, but said he fears being handed over to the United States should he be sent to Sweden.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid confirmed that Assange was in custody and "rightly facing justice."

A statement from London police said that the 47-year-old Australian was being held at a "central London police station where he will remain, before being presented before Westminster Magistrates' Court as soon as is possible."

Assange, as one of the founders and editors of Wikileaks, a non-profit that publishes secret information, is known for the release of classified information regarding the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the US detention center in Guantanamo Bay, hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables, amongst other vast troves of information.

Washington has been seeking to prosecute Assange for espionage since 2010. He earned further ire in the US in 2016 for published a series of emails damaging to the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton, for whom he has a particular dislike dating back to her time as US Secretary of State. He said he received the emails from Russian intelligence officials.