Julian Assange's Arrest: Asylum Lost and Legal Pursuits

July 20, 2023
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Julian Assange, aged 47, was apprehended by the police for failing to surrender for his defense and on a U.S. extradition warrant. The U.K. Home Office stated that he is accused in the U.S. of offenses related to computer crimes. Assange was arrested after Ecuador decided to withdraw the political asylum that had sheltered him for nearly seven years. Ecuador's President Lenin Moreno cited "repeated violations of international norms and daily life" as the reason for the move.

The sole charge against him is conspiracy to commit computer intrusion, filed in March 2018. It is based on his alleged agreement to break a password for a classified U.S. government computer. This charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and is notable for not being an espionage charge, which comes as a relief to advocates of press freedom. Previously, the U.S. government had considered charging him with an espionage-related offense until at least last year.

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U.S. authorities have claimed that Russian agents hacked the systems; however, the conspiracy charge against Mr. Assange, unveiled on Thursday, is not related to the special counsel's investigation into Russia's election interference. Assange's future in the embassy came under scrutiny last year when the Ecuadorian leader stated that he would "eventually" have to leave the property and revealed that he was in discussions with British authorities to end his asylum.

Mr. Assange has been a target of the United States government since his organization's 2010 revelations. Most recently, he faced criticism for his organization's release of thousands of emails stolen from the computer systems of the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 presidential campaign, leading to a series of disclosures that embarrassed the party and Hillary Clinton's campaign.

WikiLeaks gained fame in 2010 when it published a collection of classified U.S. documents leaked by Chelsea Manning, the former Army intelligence analyst who shared military and political secrets. In October, Assange was given another set of house rules, including orders to take care of his cat and avoid political interference using the embassy's Wi-Fi. These rules followed Assange appointing Kristinn Hrafnsson to replace him as the WikiLeaks editor, after his previous lack of internet access.

Footage of the arrest showed a heavily-bearded Assange shouting and gesticulating while being led out of the embassy by police officers. In a statement released by the Foreign Office, Hunt stated: "What we have demonstrated today is that no one is exempt from the law. Julian Assange is no hero. He has evaded reality for a long time. It is appropriate that his future be decided in the British legal system. It's not Julian Assange being held captive in the Ecuadorian Embassy; it's really Julian Assange holding the Ecuadorian Embassy captive in a situation that was completely unfortunate for them."

Hunt also mentioned that Ecuadorian President Lenín Moreno took a courageous decision, which allowed them to resolve the situation today. They are not making any judgment about Julian Assange's innocence or guilt; that is for the courts to decide. However, what is not acceptable is for someone to evade facing justice, and he has attempted to do that for a very prolonged period of time. Speaking in the House of Commons on Thursday noon, Prime Minister Theresa May said the arrest "demonstrates that in the United Kingdom, nobody is exempt from the law."

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Julian Assange’s Arrest: Asylum Lost and Legal Pursuits. (2022, March 17). WritingBros. Retrieved May 18, 2024, from https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/julian-assange-originator-of-wikileaks-jailed-in-london/
“Julian Assange’s Arrest: Asylum Lost and Legal Pursuits.” WritingBros, 17 Mar. 2022, writingbros.com/essay-examples/julian-assange-originator-of-wikileaks-jailed-in-london/
Julian Assange’s Arrest: Asylum Lost and Legal Pursuits. [online]. Available at: <https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/julian-assange-originator-of-wikileaks-jailed-in-london/> [Accessed 18 May 2024].
Julian Assange’s Arrest: Asylum Lost and Legal Pursuits [Internet]. WritingBros. 2022 Mar 17 [cited 2024 May 18]. Available from: https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/julian-assange-originator-of-wikileaks-jailed-in-london/
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