Julian Assange 'subject to arrest' as WikiLeaks founder seeks asylum in EcuadorReported by Metro.co.uk on Tuesday, 19 June 2012 (on June 19, 2012)
*The Metropolitan Police have confirmed Julian Assange is 'subject to arrest' after the WikiLeaks founder breached his bail conditions to seek political asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.*
Julian Assange spent last night at the Ecuadorian embassy in London (Picture: Reuters)
The 40-year-old is facing extradition to Sweden over allegations of rape and sexual assault dating back to August 2010 and last night told diplomats he was being persecuted for political reasons.
He has written to Ecuador's president Rafael Correa telling him he feared being sent to the US where he could face the death penalty over his part in leaking thousands of diplomatic cables through his mass-disclosure website.
The South American country's foreign minister Ricardo Patino told journalists in Quito that Ecuador, which offered Mr Assange asylum two years ago, was considering the request but insisted it was not ‘interfering in the judicial processes of either the United Kingdom or Sweden’.
The move is the latest twist in the Australian’s long-running legal battle against extradition over claims he molested two women in Stockholm in 2010.
Last month, the UK Supreme Court ruled the extradition was lawful, with Mr Assange said to be considering taking the case to the European Court of Human Rights.
A police officer stands outside the embassy of Ecuador in London (Picture: Getty)
In a short statement issued last night, Mr Assange himself said: 'I can confirm that today I arrived at the Ecuadorian embassy and sought diplomatic sanctuary and political asylum. This application has been passed to the ministry of foreign affairs in the capital Quito.
'I am grateful to the Ecuadorian ambassador and the government of Ecuador for considering my application.'
Mr Assange is understood to be on £200,000 bail after high-profile supporters including Ken Loach, John Pilger, Jemima Khan and Tony Benn reportedly contributed.
Writing on Twitter, Ms Khan said: 'I had expected him to face the allegations. I am surprised as anyone by this.'
A statement from Scotland Yard said: 'At around 10:20pm on Thursday June 19, the MPS was notified that Assange had breached [his bail conditions].
'He is now subject to arrest under the Bail Act for breach of these conditions. Officers are aware of his location at the Ecuador embassy in Hans Crescent, London.'
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