Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been found guilty of skipping out of bail by a British judge, who chastised the Australian as “a narcissist who cannot get beyond his own selfish interests.”

Assange was arrested yesterday at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he had sought refuge for nearly seven years.

The circumstances of yesterday’s arrest at the embassy are complex and involve multiple international jurisdictions.

In 2010, Assange was accused of rape and molestation by a Swedish woman. Swedish authorities filed an arrest warrant for Assange, who was living in the UK at the time. Assange disputed the allegations. He was arrested and bailed in London, pending a further hearing.

In May 2012, the UK Supreme Court decided that Assange should face questioning in Sweden in relation to the allegation.

Separately, the US feared he conspired to hack a classified computer system with whistleblower Chelsea Manning. Assange feared that travelling to Sweden in relation to the rape allegation would enable the US to extradite him.

One month later, he sought the help of the Ecuadorian embassy. Ecuador agreed that his potential extradition to the US may violate his human rights. Thanks to diplomatic immunity, police were unable to arrest him for as long as he stayed within the confines of the building.

The relationship soured over the past year. His protection at the embassy ended yesterday when Ecuadorian president Lenin Moreno said his nation had “reached its limit on the behaviour of Mr Assange.”

Moreno accused him of repeatedly meddling in foreign affairs while under their protection – and other hygiene-related allegations, which Assange disputes.

After all that, the Met Police hauled Assange away yesterday to face court for skipping bail in relation to the rape allegation. In court, district judge Michael Snow said Assange’s claim he would not receive a fair hearing was “laughable” and remanded him in custody for sentencing at an undetermined date.

He faces up to a year behind bars on that charge. Separately, he will face Westminster Magistrates Court on May 2 in regards to the US extradition hearing. The rape case was closed by Swedish authorities in 2017.

Source: The Guardian
Image: Victoria Jones / PA