U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden on Thursday called the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange “a dark moment for press freedom”.
“Images of Ecuador’s ambassador inviting the UK’s secret police into the embassy to drag a publisher of –like it or not– award-winning journalism out of the building are going to end up in the history books. Assange’s critics may cheer, but this is a dark moment for press freedom,” Snowden said in a Twitter message.
Meanwhile, Russian broadcaster RT’s editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan told journalists in Moscow that Assange had predicted his arrest.
“He told me, ‘you will see, Washington will replace the Ecuador’s president, someone will come in his place who will agree to deny me political asylum. After that I will be extradited from the U.K. to Sweden and from there to the U.S.’,” Simonyan quoted Assange as saying.
Earlier, Assange was arrested from the Ecuador’s Embassy in London after the South American country withdrew his diplomatic asylum on Thursday.
Assange has been holed up at the Ecuadorian embassy located in Knightsbridge, central London, for nearly seven years after claiming diplomatic asylum in June 2012 after being wanted by Swedish prosecutors for questioning over various alleged sexual offenses.
Sweden since dropped the charges against him, but Assange remains in the embassy fearing extradition to the U.S. on charges over WikiLeaks’ release of sensitive U.S. government files.