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Department of Justice confirms Assange arrested on US extradition request

The US Department of Justice confirms that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been arrested in relation to a US extradition request, Department Spokeswoman Nicole Navas Oxman told TASS on Thursday.

"I can confirm that Julian Assange was arrested in relation to a provisional extradition request from the United States of America," she said.

British lawyer Jennifer Robinson, who is part of a legal team representing Assange, said earlier on Thursday that the Wikileaks founder had been arrested in relation to a US extradition request. "Assange has been arrested not just for breach of bail conditions but also in relation to a US extradition request," she wrote on Twitter, adding that "the US warrant was issued in December 2017 and is for conspiracy with Chelsea Manning in early 2010."

Assange was arrested by the United Kingdom's Metropolitan Police Service after Ecuador's President Lenin Moreno had announced the withdrawal of his asylum. "He has been taken into custody at a central London police station where he will remain, before being presented before Westminster Magistrates' Court as soon as is possible," the Met Police said in a statement.

Assange's situation

In 2012, Assange sought refuge in London's Ecuadorian Embassy to escape extradition to Sweden, which had issued a warrant for his arrest on sexual harassment and rape charges. Assange dismissed the accusations as politically motivated. His worst fear was Sweden might extradite him to the United States, where he would face 35 years in prison or capital punishment for publishing classified State Department documents. The rape case was dropped in 2017 but the United Kingdom continued to insist that Assange be arrested over his failure to appear in court in London.

[Source: Itar Tass, Washington, 11Apr19]

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