UK diplomatic police are investigating a mysterious package that was sent to Julian Assange on Tuesday. The WikiLeaks founder has been holed up inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012, fearing extradition to the US over classified documents published on the site.
"Police are in attendance at the Ecuadorian Embassy in SW1 following reports of a small suspicious package. There are no reported injuries," the Metropolitan Police said in a tweet. "The item is being assessed by specialist officers."
The package came after a UK court denied Assange's first attempt to cancel an arrest warrant issued against him back in 2012, after he failed to surrender to Swedish authorities over sexual assault charges. Assange's lawyer, Mark Summers QC, argued in court that those sexual assault charges had since been dropped by Sweden, and so Britain should withdraw its charges too.
Summers told the court his client had suffered enough and shouldn’t face prison for breaching his 2012 bail conditions. The WikiLeaks editor is depressed, he claimed, and is in constant pain from an infected tooth. Assange has been holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012 fearing extradition to the US—far longer than the maximum 12-month jail penalty for breaching bail.
However, Judge Emma Arbuthnot was unconvinced.
In response, Assange's legal team launched a new application for his release on public interest grounds. If successful, Assange could walk free. Detaining the famous whistleblower for close to six years has cost the UK government an estimated £20 million.
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