The Latest on the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in London (all times local):
A senior Ecuadorian official says a Swedish software developer living in Quito and who is allegedly close to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been arrested as authorities attempt to dismantle a blackmail ring that in recent days had threatened to retaliate against President Lenin Moreno.
The official said Ola Bini was arrested Thursday at Quito’s airport as he was preparing to board a flight for Japan.
The official spoke on the condition of anonymity and didn’t provide any additional details about Bini.
On a blog, a Swedish man by the same name describes himself as a software developer working in Quito for the Center for Digital Autonomy, a group based in Ecuador and Spain focused on privacy, security and cryptography issues. It makes no mention of any affiliation with Wikileaks.
On Twitter earlier Thursday, Bini called claims by the Interior Minister that Russian hackers and someone close to Wikileaks were working inside Ecuador “very worrisome” news. “This seems like a witch hunt to me,” Bini wrote.
The arrest came after British police dragged Assange out of Ecuador’s embassy when his seven-year asylum was revoked.
Hillary Clinton says newly arrested WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange needs to “answer for what he has done.”
The 2016 Democratic presidential nominee and former secretary of state weighed in on Assange on Thursday at an event in New York for her and husband Bill Clinton’s speaking tour.
WikiLeaks’ publication of Democratic emails stolen by Russian intelligence officers during the 2016 election season hurt Clinton’s presidential campaign.
Assange was arrested by British police Thursday at the Ecuadorian Embassy where he had been holed up for nearly seven years under political asylum. The U.S. has charged him with conspiring with former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to break into a classified government computer at the Pentagon.
Clinton says, “The bottom line is that he has to answer for what he has done.”
Ecuador’s interior minister says a person suspected of being a key player for Wikileaks and close to Julian Assange has been detained at Quito’s airport trying to fly to Japan.
María Paula Romo says the person arrested allegedly conspired against the Ecuadorian government.
The Ecuadorian official said the arrest Thursday afternoon was the result of an investigation to verify information given by police.
She did not identify the person.
British police dragged WikiLeaks founder Assange out of Ecuador’s embassy on Thursday after his seven-year asylum was revoked, paving the way for his extradition to the United States.
Australia’s prime minister has ruled out intervention in a potential U.S. extradition of Australian citizen Julian Assange on a charge of computer intrusion conspiracy.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison told Australian Broadcasting Corp. the charge is a “matter for the United States” and has nothing to do with Australia.
Morrison says Assange is receiving standard consular assistance offered to Australians in trouble in other countries.
Former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa is criticizing what he considers a “double standard” by Western media and governments who he says have been quick to condemn Julian Assange for publishing sensitive information about U.S. national security interests.
Correa granted Assange asylum in 2012. In an interview with The Associated Press, he is harshly critical of his successor’s decision to expel the Wikileaks founder from Ecuador’s embassy in London.
Ecuador’s former president said that “although Julian Assange denounced war crimes, he’s only the person supplying the information.”
Correa said “It’s the New York Times, the Guardian and El Pais publishing it. Why aren’t those journalists and media owners thrown in jail?”
British police on Thursday hauled a bearded and shouting Assange from the Ecuadorian Embassy where he was holed up for nearly seven years, and the U.S. charged the WikiLeaks founder with conspiring to obtain government secrets.
Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno is lashing out again at Julian Assange, calling him a “miserable hacker” and “spoiled brat” who was disrespectful to officials charged with taking care of him at the country’s embassy in London.
Moreno repeated allegations that Assange smearing of his own fecal matter on the walls of the embassy building and said that was a sign of how the WikiLeaks founder viewed Ecuador as an insignificant, third-rate country.
“When you’re given shelter, cared for and provided food you don’t denounce the owner of the house,” said Moreno to applause at an event outside Quito.
He added that Ecuador will “be more careful in giving asylum to people who are really worth it and not miserable hackers whose only goal is to destabilize governments.”
In his words, “We are tolerant, calm people but we’re not stupid.”
The French lawyer for Julian Assange says he wants President Emmanuel Macron to intervene to bring him from a London jail to France, where his small child lives.
Juan Branco suggested in an interview hours after the arrest Thursday of the Wikileaks founder that he could risk life in prison on trumped-up charges if extradited to the U.S.
Assange faces U.S. charges related to publication of tens of thousands of classified government documents, with an extradition hearing May 2.
For Branco, Assange is a journalist who “revealed information to the general public about crimes against humanity, war crimes.” He said the arrest is “some kind of revenge.”
Branco spoke to Assange last week and said he last saw him at Christmas at the Ecuadorian Embassy.
Ecuador’s government says that as tensions with Julian Assange mounted in recent weeks, the WikiLeaks founder acted out with hostility against his hosts at the country’s embassy in London.
Foreign Minister José Valencia spoke to lawmakers Thursday and described what he said were Assange’s repeated violations of the conditions of his asylum that led the government to expel him from the diplomatic mission after almost seven years and hand him over to British authorities.
He said what began as erratic behavior by Assange — roller skating and playing soccer in embassy hallways and listening to loud music at all hours — evolved in recent months into aggressive behavior toward embassy staff.
Valencia said that Assange on occasions hit staff charged with guaranteeing his wellbeing and accused embassy officials of being U.S. spies looking to exchange information on WikiLeaks in exchange for debt relief for Ecuador.
The legal team for former U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning says the indictment of Julian Assange shows prosecutors didn’t need her testimony to criminally charge the WikiLeaks founder.
The U.S. Justice Department charged Julian Assange on Thursday with conspiring with Manning to break into a classified government computer.
Manning has been jailed for refusing to testify before a federal grand jury in Virginia that is investigating WikiLeaks. Assange is accused of agreeing to help Manning steal classified information by trying to crack a password to a U.S. government computer system. His attempts were unsuccessful.
Manning’s lawyers noted Assange’s indictment was returned more than a year before their client refused to testify. In a statement, they said Manning should be released because her continued detention would be “purely punitive.”
The lawyers plan to raise these issues in a brief before an appellate court Thursday.
The Justice Department charged Assange after he was taken into custody in connection with a U.S. extradition request and for skipping bail when he sought asylum in Ecuador’s embassy in London in 2012.