WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was arrested by British police and carried out of the Ecuadorean embassy on Thursday after his South American hosts abruptly revoked his seven-year asylum in a move his supporters said was illegal.
LONDON (Reuters) – WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was arrested by British police and carried out of the Ecuadorean embassy on Thursday after his South American hosts abruptly revoked his seven-year asylum in a move his supporters said was illegal.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is seen as he leaves a police station in London, Britain April 11, 2019. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Following are comments and reactions to the news:
BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY JEREMY HUNT
“Julian Assange is no hero, he has hidden from the truth for years and years.
“It’s not so much Julian Assange being held hostage in the Ecuadorean embassy, it’s actually Julian Assange holding the Ecuadorean embassy hostage in a situation that was absolutely intolerable for them.”
BRITISH JUNIOR FOREIGN MINISTER ALAN DUNCAN
“It is our broad policy in all circumstances, so it equally applies to Julian Assange, that he will not be extradited if he is going to face the death penalty. So that will apply to him.”
AUSTRALIAN FOREIGN MINISTER MARISE PAYNE
“Mr Assange will continue to receive the usual consular support from the Australian Government. Consular officers will seek to visit Mr Assange at his place of detention.
“I am confident, as the United Kingdom Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt publicly confirmed in July 2018, that Mr Assange will receive due process in the legal proceedings he faces in the United Kingdom.”
FORMER US SPY AGENCY CONTRACTOR EDWARD SNOWDEN
“Assange’s critics may cheer, but this is a dark moment for press freedom.”
“The United Nations formally ruled his detention to be arbitrary, a violation of human rights. They have repeatedly issued statements calling for him to walk free—including very recently.”
“This man is a son, a father, a brother. He has won dozens of journalism awards. He’s been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize every year since 2010. Powerful actors, including CIA, are engaged in a sophisticated effort to dehumanize, delegitimize and imprison him.”
RAFAEL CORREA, FORMER ECUADORIAN PRESIDENT
“The greatest traitor in Ecuadorian and Latin American history, Lenin Moreno, allowed the British police to enter our embassy in London to arrest Assange.
“Moreno is a corrupt man, but what he has done is a crime that humanity will never forget.”
SVEN-ERIK ALHEM, RETIRED PROSECUTOR, CHAIRMAN OF NGO VICTIM SUPPORT SWEDEN
“I’d think it would be fairly uphill to reopen the investigation (in Sweden), mainly because testimonies usually weaken with time and it’s now been 10 years. On top of that, the statute of limitation is drawing near, and Assange would need to come here.”
ASSANGE FRIEND VAUGHAN SMITH
“It was a miserable existence and I could see it was a strain on him, but a strain he managed rather well.”
“The thing that was most difficult for Julian was the solitude.”
“He was very tough, but the last year in particular was very difficult. He was constantly being surveilled and spied upon. There was no privacy for him.”