The dramatic developments at the Ecuadorian embassy in London filled most of the British front pages on Friday
The arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy where he has lived since 2012 is splashed across most of the front pages today.
The Guardian reports that “Assange faces five years in US jail as standoff ends”, adding the WikiLeaks founder was “dragged” from the embassy yesterday “following 2,487 days” holed up inside. The paper said the arrest had “provoked a fierce debate over Assange’s future”.
The Times suggests Assange could face “decades in US jail over spying claims”, saying that he is expected to face “dozens more charges” if extradited. The paper said the WikiLeak founder, “looking pallid, with an unkempt white beard and long hair” was “dragged ranting” from the embassy.
The Daily Mail is thrilled with the developments, featuring a picture of Assange smiling and giving a thumbs up with handcuffs next to the headline: “That’ll wipe the smile off his face”.
“Dishevelled and bearded, he ranted about Donald Trump and screamed ‘the UK has no civility’ before being handcuffed and bundled into a police van”, said the paper.
The Financial Times says Assange’s arrest ends a “seven-year saga that pitted global authorities against one of the most controversial transparency advocates”.
The i calls Assange “Ecuador’s unwanted house guest” and said he had been arrested after his “South American hosts lose patience with their lodger”. The paper also the arrest had ignited a “political row”, reporting that Jeremy Corbyn had demanded Assange be protected from prosecution.
The Daily Express doesn’t lead with the Assange news, instead splashing on Brexit news. But does have a small story on its front “Assange booted out of embassy and now faces jail”.
Similarly, the front page of the Daily Telegraph features a lead story about Brexit and a smaller picture story headlined: “Assange dragged from his bolthole after seven years”.
The Sun references the troubled relationship between Assange and his hosts, with a headline “WhiffyLeaks”, claiming Assange engaged in “dirty protests” at the embassy.
The Mirror is the one paper not to feature the Assange news at all on its front page, instead it reports that the Duchess of Sussex will break with tradition by not being photographed on the steps of the hospital shortly after giving birth.