A judge branded Julian Assange a "narcissist" as he was found guilty of breaching his bail conditions – hours after he was forcibly removed from the Ecuadorian embassy in London following seven years of refuge.

The WikiLeaks founder is facing extradition to the US on charges of conspiring to break into a classified government computer, where he could face a maximum jail sentence of five years.

Assange was detained by police after the Ecuadorian government withdrew his asylum – accusing the self-proclaimed journalist of interfering in international affairs and being discourteous to embassy staff.

Image: Assange was arrested at the embassy on Thursday morning

The 47-year-old shouted and gesticulated as he was carried away in handcuffs by seven men and put into a waiting van on Thursday morning.

He later appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court where he was found guilty of breaching his bail conditions, meaning he also faces a jail term of up to 12 months in the UK when he is sentenced later at crown court.


During the hearing, Assange claimed he could not expect a fair trial in British courts as the UK's purpose was to "secure his delivery" to the US.

Judge Michael Snow said Assange's defence was laughable – and described his behaviour as "that of a narcissist who cannot get beyond his own selfish interests".

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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in a police van
Image: A judge described the WikiLeaks founder as a 'narcissist'

The activist's long, grey hair was pulled tightly back into a ponytail during the hearing, with Assange looking much older than his 47 years.

At one point, he saluted the public gallery and gave a thumbs up to a supporter who was wearing a hi-vis jacket.

Assange has now been remanded in custody and will next appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court on 2 May by prison video-link in relation to the extradition.

Outside court, Assange's lawyer Jennifer Robinson said: "Since 2010, we've warned that Julian Assange would face extradition to the US for his publishing activities. Unfortunately, today we have been proved right."

Crowds of supporters gathered outside court – chanting "no extradition" – and there were minor scuffles as protesters sat down on the road.

Scotland Yard said Mr Assange, 47, was being held on behalf of the US authorities, as well as for breaching his original bail conditions.
Protester blocks van driving away Assange

In other developments, Swedish prosecutors say that a woman who has accused Assange of rape has asked for the investigation to be reopened.

On Thursday night, an individual alleged to have links to Assange was arrested while trying to leave Ecuador, according to authorities.

The man, said to be Swedish software developer Ola Bini, was detained at Quito airport as he prepared to board a flight for Japan.

Ecuador interior minister Maria Paula Romo said a person had been arested for allegedly conspiring against the country's government.

The US has accused Assange of assisting Chelsea Manning, a former intelligence analyst, in breaking a password that helped her to infiltrate Pentagon computers.

Assange initially hit headlines after WikiLeaks released hundreds of thousands of classified US diplomatic cables in collaboration with mainstream media organisations including The Guardian and The New York Times.

Thursday's developments have been welcomed by UK government ministers – with Home Secretary Sajid Javid and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt tweeting that "no one is above the law".

A spokesperson for the prime minister said Britain had not lobbied for his asylum to be revoked.

Mr Hunt told Sky News: "Julian Assange is no hero. He's hidden from the truth for years and years, and it is right that his future should be decided in the British judicial system."

Sajid Javid's statement on Assange's arrest

Mr Javid told the Commons that the "first action taken" after his arrest was a medical check-up.

But Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called on the government to oppose his extradition.

He tweeted: "The extradition of Julian Assange to the US for exposing evidence of atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan should be opposed by the British government."

WikiLeaks has accused Ecuador of "violating international law" by terminating its founder's political asylum in their London embassy.

Russia has also accused the Metropolitan Police of adopting a heavy-handed approach while arresting Assange, and said the treatment he received gave "the full impression of an open and rude disregard for the human dignity of the arrested".

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in a police van
Image: Assange was heard shouting as he was taken from the embassy

Assange, who is originally from Australia, entered the Ecuadorian embassy in June 2012 to request political asylum. He had exhausted all of his legal options as he battled to avoid extradition from the UK to Sweden.

He then refused to leaveRead More – Source

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