London: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was served with a “surrender notice” by Scotland Yard today, just days after he dramatically took refuge at the Ecuadorean embassy here seeking political asylum to block his extradition
to Sweden to face sexual assault charges.
Earlier this month, 40-year-old Assange had lost his final bid to avoid his extradition to Sweden when Britain’s Supreme Court dismissed his appeal to re-open the extradition case.
Officers from the extradition unit delivered the note to both Assange and Ecuador’s London embassy.
The court had ruled that Assange should not be extradited until June 28, which lapsed today. The extradition notice delivered to Assange and Ecuador’s
embassy says that he is required to attend a police station ”at a time of our choosing”.
“This is standard procedure in extradition cases and is the first step in the removal process. He remains in breach of his bail conditions and failure to surrender would be a further breach of those conditions and he is liable to
arrest,” a brief statement by the Scotland Yard was quoted by the BBC as saying
One of Assange’s conditions was that he would remain at the bail address between 2200 hours and 0800 hours.
This was breached on June 20 after he sought sanctuary in the Ecuador embassy and sought political asylum.
Assange, has been on conditional bail and is sought to be extradited to Sweden to face allegation of sex offences, which he denies. Assange has been fighting for a year and a half against being sent to Sweden for questioning about accusations of sexual abuse.
Two women accused him in August 2010 of sexually assaulting them during a visit to Sweden. Assange has been under house arrest in Britain since
Assange, an Australian, fears that if he is sent to Sweden he could be sent on to the United States to face charges over Wikileaks and that he could face the death penalty.
The embassy declined to comment on the serving of the police notice. Under international diplomatic arrangements, the Metropolitan Police cannot go into the embassy to arrest Assange.
Ecuador is considering Assange’s application for asylum.
The Ecuadoran embassy is a flat in a mansion block in the plush Knightsbridge district. It is across the street from the well-known Harrods department store.
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.