Sasse Responds to the Arrest of Wikileaks Founder: ‘Good News for Freedom-Loving People’

Mark Wilson/Getty Images and Peter Nicholls/Reuters

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) is calling Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange’s arrest by British police on Thursday at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, where he’s stayed since 2012, “good news.”

The Ecuadorean Embassy withdrew Assange’s asylum and responded to the extradition request from the U.S., as IJR News reported.

Assange leaked emails from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign during the 2016 presidential election. Additionally, the U.S. accused Assange of conspiracy with Chelsea Manning in 2010 for leaking classified data.

He spent years in solitude in the Ecuadorean Embassy in fear of being extradited by Sweden on sexual assault accusations, but the investigation dropped in May 2017.

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Sasse called the arrest “good news for freedom-loving people.”

“Julian Assange has long been a wicked tool of Vladimir Putin and the Russian intelligence services,” Sasse tweeted on Thursday.

Additionally, the Republican lawmaker said Assange “deserves to spend the rest of his life in prison.”

“Julian Assange is no hero, he has hidden from the truth for years and years,” British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt tweeted early Thursday.

He added, “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.”

President of Ecuador Lenin Moreno responded to the arrest of “discourteous and aggressive” Assange:

“The asylum of Mr. Assange is unsustainable and no longer viable. Ecuador sovereignly has decided to terminate the diplomatic asylum granted to Mr. Assange in 2012. … Mr. Assange violated, repeatedly, clear-cut provisions of the conventions on diplomatic asylum of Havana and Caracas, despite the fact that he was requested on several occasions to respect and abide by these rules.

He particularly violated the norm of not intervening in the internal affairs of other states. The most recent incident occurred in January 2019 when WikiLeaks leaked Vatican documents. Key members of that organization visited Mr. Assange before and after such illegal acts. This and other publications have confirmed the world’s suspicion that Mr. Assange is still linked to WikiLeaks and therefore involved in interfering in internal affairs of other states.”

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Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden — who is in an asylum in Russia and faces charges for allegedly leaking highly classified information — called the Assange’s arrest a “dark moment for press freedom.”

“Images of Ecuador’s ambassador inviting the UK’s secret police into the embassy to drag a publisher of–like it or not–award-winning journalism out of the building are going to end up in the history books,” Snowden tweeted. “Assange’s critics may cheer, but this is a dark moment for press freedom.”

The former Wikileaks founder was “arrested on behalf of the United States authorities” on Thursday and he will “appear in custody at Westminster Magistrates’ Court as soon as possible,” London’s Metropolitan Police confirmed in a statement, according to The Washington Post.

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