British police have further arrested WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange on behalf of United States authorities under an extradition request, according to the U.K’s Metropolitan Police.
In an update, the Metropolitan Police posted that Assange has been “further arrested on behalf of the United States authorities, at 10:53hrs after his arrival at a central London police station. This is an extradition warrant under Section 73 of the Extradition Act. He will appear in custody at Westminster Magistrates’ Court as soon as possible.”
UPDATE: Julian Assange has been further arrested in relation to an extradition warrant on behalf of the United States authorities. He remains in custody at a central London police station. https://t.co/rK3mtlsPBE pic.twitter.com/kipiWbflOh
— Metropolitan Police (@metpoliceuk) April 11, 2019
In June last year, Vice President Mike Pence pressured the Ecuadorian government on the status of Assange following demands from Senate Democrats that he do so. The New York Times reported in December that Ecuador has been offered debt relief by the U.S. in exchange for handing over Assange.
A lawyer for WikiLeaks claimed that the extradition request was made by the Trump Department of Justice in 2017 for “conspiracy with Chelsea Manning in early 2010.”
The executive director of Reporter Without Borders, an advocacy organization protecting the rights of journalists, called Assange’s potential extradition and trial a “punitive measure” that would “set a dangerous precedent for journalists.”
Targeting Assange because of Wikileaks’ provision of information to journalists that was in the public interest would be a punitive measure and would set a dangerous precedent for journalists or their sources that the US may wish to pursue in future @wikileaks @rebecca_vincent
— Christophe Deloire (@cdeloire) April 11, 2019
While he was alive, neoconservative Senator John McCain claimed that leaks provided to WikiLeaks by Chelsea Manning, which included the diplomatic cables, caused U.S. foreign sources to be harmed.
However, it was in fact an error on the part of a Guardian journalist, not WikiLeaks, that that led to the full unredacted cables leaking to third parties on the web that WikiLeaks published them as well — and not before Assange attempted to warn the office of Hillary Clinton, then U.S. Secretary of State about the unintended leak of the cables.
WikiLeaks had a major impact on the news cycle during the 2016 presidential election, releasing a number of damaging leaks exposing corruption in the Hillary Clinton campaign. Donald Trump often cited WikiLeaks material in his campaign speech, at one point declaring “I love WikiLeaks.”