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October 27, 2020

Julian Assange requests asylum at Ecuador embassy, police says faces arrest

Julian Assange is subject to arrest for breaking the terms of his bail, London’s Metropolitan Police said Wednesday, after the WikiLeaks founder attempted to claim asylum at the embassy of Ecuador in Britain, CNN reports.Assange was arrested in Britain in 2010 because Swedish authorities want to question him about allegations of rape and sexual molestation. His bail conditions included staying every night at the home of a supporter outside of London. Police were notified Tuesday night that he had breached that condition, they said Wednesday morning. “He is now subject to arrest under the Bail Act for breach of these conditions,” they said.It is not clear that they will be able to arrest him, since diplomatic protocol prevents authorities from entering foreign embassies.Assange has requested political asylum in Ecuador, officials and WikiLeaks said Tuesday.Assange has been fighting for a year and a half against being sent to Sweden for questioning about the accusations of sexual abuse. Two women accused him in August 2010 of sexually assaulting them during a visit to Sweden in connection with a WikiLeaks release of internal U.S. military documents.“Julian Assange has requested political asylum and is under the protection of the Ecuadorian embassy in London,” WikiLeaks wrote on its Twitter page. The embassy also released a statement on its website saying Assange, an Australian, arrived there in the afternoon and will remain at the embassy while his application is assessed. “The decision to consider Mr. Assange’s application for protective asylum should in no way be interpreted as the government of Ecuador interfering in the judicial processes of either the United Kingdom or Sweden,” the statement said.The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom last week dismissed an application filed by an attorney for Assange seeking to reopen his appeal against extradition. The application was Assange’s last option in the British courts. Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service has previously said if the court dismissed Assange’s appeal, his only further remedy would be to apply immediately to the European Court of Human Rights, and Assange’s attorneys have vowed to do so.

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