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Russia says Britain ‘strangling freedom’ with Assange arrest


A police van is pictured outside of the Embassy of Ecuador in London on April 11, 2019, after police arrested WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. – British police have arrested WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at Ecuador’s embassy in London after his asylum was withdrawn, the police said in a statement Thursday. Assange has been living at the embassy since 2012 when he sought refuge there. (Photo by Niklas HALLE’N / AFP)

Russia on Thursday slammed Britain’s arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange as a move against democratic freedoms and called on London to respect his rights.

“The hand of ‘democracy’ is strangling freedom,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Facebook after British police arrested Assange at Ecuador’s embassy in London.

President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov expressed hope that the WikiLeaks founder’s rights would be respected.

Asked if Russia was ready to give Assange asylum, Peskov sidestepped the question but told journalists: “We certainly hope that all his rights will be respected.”

British police arrested Assange after his asylum was withdrawn. He had been living at the embassy since 2012 when he sought refuge there.

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