WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is seen on the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, Britain, in this file photo taken on May 19 2017. Picture: REUTERS/PETER NICHOLLS
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is seen on the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, Britain, in this file photo taken on May 19 2017. Picture: REUTERS/PETER NICHOLLS

London — Julian Assange was arrested by London police on Thursday after Ecuador withdrew diplomatic asylum from the Australian who had been linked to leaks of US government secrets.

London police said Assange was arrested moments after Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno said on Twitter that the country had withdrawn his diplomatic asylum.

The 47-year-old has been in the Ecuadorian embassy since 2012 when he sought to escape questioning in a Swedish sexual assault case. While those charges were dropped in 2017, Assange has remained in the small London apartment as he has continued to dodge UK police and American prosecutors.

Assange’s exit from the embassy ends a nearly seven-year standoff between the controversial transparency advocate and British authorities. While he will initially face punishment for jumping bail in the UK, Assange faces the possibility of a looming extradition request to the US

WikiLeaks and Assange became famous in 2010 when the organisation published government secrets leaked by US Army soldier Chelsea Manning. More recently, the website put itself at the centre of the 2016 American presidential race by publishing hacked e-mails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

Bloomberg