The British Foreign Office confirms Julian Assange is “beyond the reach of police” so long as the WikiLeaks founder remains in the Ecuadorian embassy where he is seeking asylum.
However, due to apparent violations of his bail conditions, Assange will be subject to immediate arrest if he attempts to exit the premises.
“He has breached one of his bail conditions which was to be at his bail address between 10pm and 8am every day… He is subject to arrest under the Bail Act,” a spokesman for London’s Metropolitan Police told Reuters.
The WikiLeaks founder is currently awaiting extradition to Sweden on charges of sexual assault.
Assange – who denies the accusations – is concerned that extradition to Sweden could ultimately lead to his eventual transfer to the United States.
Michael Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Rights, which represents the WikiLeaks founder in the US, told the UK-based Guardian that Assange believes he will “not see the light of day for 40 years” if extradited to Sweden.
“The concrete reality [is] that he was facing a political prosecution in the US, he was facing the death penalty or certainly life in jail,” said Ratner. “Faced with that, he had extremely limited choices.”
Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald expressed similar sentiments.
“The evidence that the US seeks to prosecute and extradite Assange is substantial. There is no question that the Obama justice department has convened an active grand jury to investigate whether WikiLeaks violated the draconian Espionage Act of 1917,” he wrote. “Key senators from President Obama’s party, including Senate intelligence committee chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, have publicly called for his prosecution under that statute.”
Indeed, author-activist David Swanson recently told Russia Today that Assange will ultimately be handed over to the United States – where he is likely to be tried for espionage. According to Swanson, the American government “has issued a secret closed indictment and pressured other governments in Britain and Sweden to ship Julian Assange to the US.”
Swanson also claimed the WikiLeaks founder could face conditions amounting to torture or even murder, as the the US has “very much blurred the line between law enforcement and war.”
Julian Assange became a household name in 2010 after WikiLeaks released hundreds of thousands of classified US documents, including a video that showed American forces firing at Iraqi civilians and journalists whom they had mistaken for armed insurgents.