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Assange likely to be arrested: Police

June 20, 2012 16:14 IST

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who dramatically sought sanctuary in the Ecuador embassy and applied for political asylum, could be arrested since he has breached one of his bail conditions, police said on Wednesday.

The Metropolitan Police Service said that one of his bail conditions was that he would remain at the bail address between 22.00 hours and 0800 hours. This was breached last night after he sought sanctuary in the Ecuador embassy and sought political asylum.

The police statement said that they are aware of his location in the Ecuador embassy.

Meanwhile, a Foreign Office statement said: "The Ecuadorean authorities have informed us that Mr Assange had...requested political asylum in their embassy in London.

The government of Ecuador is considering the request."

"As Mr Assange is in the Ecuadorean embassy he is in diplomatic territory and beyond the reach of the police. We will seek to work with the Ecuadorean authorities to resolve this situation as soon as possible," it said.

The 40-year-old hacker-turned-activist, Assange has been on conditional bail and is sought to be extradited to Sweden to face allegation of sex offences, which he denies.

British police had arrested Assange on December 7, 2010, on behalf of the Swedish authorities. Assange, an Australian national, was arrested on a European Arrest Warrant by appointment at a London police station.

"He is accused by the Swedish authorities of one count of unlawful coercion, two counts of sexual molestation and one count of rape, all alleged to have been committed in August 2010. Assange appeared at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court on 7 December 2010," the police statement said.

Assange was later granted bail by the high court, subject to a number of bail conditions.

On Tuesday, the police was notified that Assange had breached one of those bail conditions. He is now subject to arrest under the Bail Act for breach of these conditions.

After seeking political asylum at the Ecuador embassy in Knightsbridge, Assange said he was "grateful" to the government of the south American country for considering his application.

Last week, Assange lost his final bid to block his extradition to Sweden to face allegations of sex offences when Britain's Supreme Court dismissed his appeal to re-open the extradition case.

The court had ruled that the Australian should not be extradited until June 28.

Assange has been on conditional bail and is sought to be extradited to Sweden to face allegation of sex offences, which he denies.

WikiLeaks, founded by Assange, which facilitates the anonymous leaking of secret information, has published some 250,000 confidential US diplomatic cables, causing embarrassment to the government and others.

It has also published hundreds of thousands of classified US documents relating to the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But the organisation has come under financial pressure, leading Assange to announce that WikiLeaks was temporarily stopping publication to "aggressively fund raise" in order to stay afloat.

Prasun Sonwalkar in London
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