WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange was arrested in London on Thursday morning, nearly seven years after he sought refuge at the Ecuadorian Embassy, and faces a possible extradition to the United States.
The U.K. Metropolitan Police confirmed that Assange was arrested by officers at the embassy after the Ecuadorian government withdrew asylum for the Australian national.
Assange was taken to a central London police station and will be presented before Westminster Magistrates' Court "as soon as is possible," police said.
The police said he was arrested for failing to surrender to a court on a warrant issued by the Westminster Magistrates' Court in June 2012. The police later further updated that the arrest is in relation to an extradition warrant on behalf of the United States authorities.
Assange's attorney confirmed on Thursday that the 47-year-old WikiLeaks founder was arrested on a U.S. extradition request as well as for breaching U.K. bail conditions, The Associated Press reported.
A source directly familiar with the situation told NBC News Thursday that the U.S. is making plans to seek extradition of Julian Assange from the U.K. in connection with sealed federal charges filed in the Eastern District of Virginia.
Following the arrest, the U.S. charged Assange with conspiracy to commit computer hacking.
Assange sought asylum at the embassy in London in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden over a sexual assault case. Two years earlier, the Swedish government issued a warrant for Assange in connection with allegations of sexual assault and rape from two women.
He consistently denied the allegations and surrendered to British police the following month and was released on bail. However, he then evaded police and fled, leading to a second warrant that was the basis for his arrest Thursday.
In 2017, Swedish prosecutors dropped their preliminary investigation into the allegations, ending a seven-year legal battle there.
Assange had refused to leave the Ecuadorian Embassy and claimed he would be extradited to the U.S. for questioning over WikiLeaks' activities. The activist organization became renowned for publishing secret information and news leaks that on some occasions caused embarrassment for governments and public officials.