According to the statement, Assange was arrested at 9:30 a.m. and will appear in court at the City of Westminster Magistrate at 2 p.m. The warrant asking for Assange’s arrest was issued by the government of Sweden who said they wanted to talk to Assange regarding sex-crime accusations that have been leveled against him.
Assange will respond, court will decide
When Assange appears in court later in the day he will have a chance to respond to the charges against him. At that point the court will have 21 days to decide if they will follow through with extradition. Assange can choose to fight the warrant, as well. Even if the court decides to extradite him, Assange can appeal the decision and it could become a protracted legal battle.
The arrest warrant was first created and issues in Sweden back in November. The warrants says Assange is suspected in one count of rape and two counts of sexual molestation and one count of unlawful coercion. These acts all reportedly happened back in August.
Assange has been under intense scrutiny lately due to the release of diplomatic cables to his website WikiLeaks. There have been calls from politicians from around the world for his arrest and charges of treason or espionage. The cables were confidential communications between diplomats and politicians from around the world.
The management at WikiLeaks stated that the arrest of Assange has not affected the website. Although Assange is one of the founders and calls himself their editor-in-chief, the site has multiple editors and leaders. Assange is just the most public of the faces at the helm.