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Court in Britain finds WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange guilty of breaching his bail conditions.

Police arrested Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in London on Thursday, after the South American nation decided to revoke the political asylum that had given him sanctuary for almost seven years.

London police said they were invited into the embassy by Ecuador’s ambassador. Assange took refuge in the embassy in 2012 after he was released on bail while facing extradition to Sweden on sexual assault allegations that have since been dropped.

Assange has been under U.S. Justice Department scrutiny for years for Wikileaks’ role in publishing thousands of government secrets and was an important figure in the special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe as investigators examined how WikiLeaks obtained emails stolen from Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and Democratic groups.

Ecuador’s president, Lenin Moreno, said his government made a “sovereign decision” to revoke Assange’s political asylum due to “repeated violations to international conventions and daily-life.”

“Today I announce that that the discourteous and aggressive behavior of Mr. Julian Assange, the hostile and threatening declarations of its allied organization, against Ecuador, and especially the transgression of international treaties, have led the situation to a point where the asylum of Mr. Assange is unsustainable and no longer viable,” Moreno said in a video released on Twitter.

Video posted online by Ruptly, a news service of Russia Today, showed several men in suits carrying Assange out of the embassy building and loading him into a police van while uniformed British police officers formed a passageway. Assange sported a full beard and slicked-back grey hair.



In a major reversal, South Korea's Constitutional Court on Thursday ordered the easing of the country's decades-old ban on most abortions, one of the strictest in the developed world.

Abortions have been largely illegal in South Korea since 1953, though convictions for violating the restrictions are rare. Still, the illegality of abortions forces women to seek out unauthorized and often expensive procedures to end their pregnancies, creating a social stigma that makes them feel like criminals.

The court's nine-justice panel said that the parliament must revise legislation to ease the current regulations by the end of 2020. It said the current abortion law was incompatible with the constitution and would be repealed if parliament fails to come up with new legislation by then.

The ruling is final and cannot be appealed, court officials said, but current regulations will remain in effect until they are replaced or repealed.

An easing of the law could open up the door to more abortions for social and economic reasons. Current exceptions to the law only allow abortions when a woman is pregnant through rape or incest, when a pregnancy seriously jeopardizes her health, or when she or her male partner has certain diseases.

A woman in South Korea can be punished with up to one year in prison for having an illegal abortion, and a doctor can get up to two years in prison for performing an unauthorized abortion.

Thursday's verdict was a response to an appeal filed in February 2017 by an obstetrician charged with carrying out about 70 unauthorized abortions from 2013-2017 at the request or approval of pregnant women.

Most other countries in the 36-member Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the so-called most developed countries, allow abortions for broad social and economic reasons. South Korea is one of only five OECD member states that don't allow such abortions, according to the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family.

The South Korean public has been sharply split over the abortion law. There have been heated panel discussions on TV and internet programs; activists, both for and against, have for months stood with placards near the court. Dozens gathered on Thursday.


A Wisconsin appeals court sided with Democratic Gov. Tony Evers on Tuesday, ruling that he had the authority to withdraw appointments made by then-Gov. Scott Walker and approved by Republicans during a lame-duck legislative session.

The state's 3rd District Court of Appeals declined to reinstate the 15 appointees as Republicans wanted. The court said Evers' rescinding of the appointments was not invalidated by a later court ruling that put on hold the decision that allowed him to take the action.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald promised an immediate appeal to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which is controlled 4-3 by conservatives.

"As the governor has repeatedly said, he acted properly and within the law to withdraw those improper appointments and make his own valid appointments," Evers' spokeswoman Melissa Baldauff said in reaction to the ruling.

Hours before the ruling came out, Fitzgerald said that Republicans were "pretty wild" with anger over Evers' decision to revoke the appointments and may not vote on confirming his Cabinet secretaries while the court battle continues.

The position by the Senate's top Republican highlighted the deep divide between Republicans who control the Legislature and the newly elected governor. The Senate has not acted to confirm any of Evers' Cabinet picks while courts settle legal issues stemming from a lame-duck session in which Republicans pushed through several measures weakening the powers of Evers and Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul.

"I think some of those Cabinet members are going to be in trouble," Fitzgerald said, declining to name those who may be in greater jeopardy than others.

Evers said he did not see Fitzgerald's comments as retribution over the lame-duck legal fight, but rather "huffing and puffing."

"This will be resolved at some point in time," Evers told reporters. "Whether it's retribution or not, it's not going to work. First of all, the work of the state has to go on whether it's retribution or not."

Evers' Cabinet secretaries are working while their confirmations by the Senate are pending. If they are rejected, they would have to quit working.

The fight goes back to the lame-duck session Republicans called for December, after Evers had defeated Walker but before he took office. Republicans approved 82 Walker appointments, in addition to passing a number of power-stripping laws.


A lawsuit claiming Florida's governor improperly suspended a county sheriff for failing to prevent last year's Parkland school shooting is going directly to the Florida Supreme Court.

The Fourth District Court of Appeal transferred the case to the state's highest court Tuesday, certifying the case to be of great public importance.

A circuit court dismissed the lawsuit last week, ruling Gov. Ron DeSantis' executive order removing Scott Israel as Broward County sheriff was consistent with the Florida Constitution. Israel appealed the decision.

DeSantis has said Israel displayed poor leadership and failed to keep children safe during the February 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that killed 17 people.

The sheriff has said DeSantis overstepped his constitutional authority and interfered with the public's right to determine their elected official.


The Czech Republic’s highest court says a former justice minister violated the rights of an alleged Russian hacker by allowing his extradition to the U.S. before a separate asylum case was finalized.

Yevgeniy Nikulin is accused of hacking computers at LinkedIn, Dropbox and other American companies in 2012, compromising the personal information of millions of Americans.

The Constitutional Court said Tuesday that then Justice Minister Robert Pelikan allowed Nikulin’s extradition before his asylum request went through the court system. Nikulin was later denied asylum. He was extradited to the U.S. in March 2018.

Pelikan is no longer justice minister and won’t face any punishment. The Czechs arrested Nikulin in Prague in cooperation with the FBI in October 2016. He denies the charges against him.



An acclaimed Russian theater and film director was freed from house arrest Monday, a verdict that follows longtime calls for his release from prominent cultural figures worldwide.

The Moscow City Court overturned a district court’s decision to extend the house arrest for Kirill Serebrennikov, and ordered him freed on his own recognizance and requested that he not leave the Russian capital pending completion of his trial. Two of his associates were also freed from house arrest.

Serebrennikov has been under house arrest for nearly 20 months on charges of embezzling 133 million rubles (about $2 million) of state funding for a theater project. He has rejected the accusations as absurd, and many in Russia saw the charges as punishment for his anti-establishment views.

Speaking to reporters after the court’s verdict, Serebrennikov said he would push for his acquittal. “I would only be happy when this nightmare ends completely and we prove our innocence,” he said.

Serebrennikov added that he would quickly return to work at his Gogol Center theater. “It’s going to be difficult psychologically, but we have so much work to do,” he said.

Serebrennikov’s ballet about dancer Rudolf Nureyev premiered in Moscow’s Bolshoi Theater when he was already under house arrest, and his film “Leto” (Summer) about the country’s Soviet-era rock scene was shown at the Cannes Film Festival last year despite his absence.

Top members of the Russian artistic community have continuously appealed to President Vladimir Putin to set Serebrennikov free, and many prominent international artistic figures have joined the call.

Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, refrained from comment on the court’s decision to free Serebrennikov. Serebrennikov’s productions, ranging from drama to opera and movies, have mocked official lies, corruption and growing social conservatism.

They have been criticized by hard-line politicians and conservative activists, and his arrest in August 2017 has raised fears of a return to Soviet-style censorship.

Serebrennikov’s backers have argued that Serebrennikov fell victim to arcane bureaucratic rules that make it very difficult for any director to make theater productions without breaching some of the convoluted official norms.


The man accused of carrying out the Christchurch mosque attacks will face 50 murder charges and 39 attempted murder charges when he makes his second court appearance, New Zealand police said Thursday.

Police had earlier filed a single, representative murder charge against 28-year-old Australian Brenton Harrison Tarrant. He is due to appear via video link during a brief hearing on Friday, and won’t be required to enter a plea.

Fifty people died in the March 15 attacks on two mosques and another 50 were injured.

Police said in a brief statement that they were considering filing more charges against Tarrant but couldn’t comment further as the case was before the court.

Tarrant’s first appearance was on the day after the attacks in the Christchurch District Court. His case has now been moved to the High Court due to the seriousness of the charges. Tarrant has reportedly been moved to a high-security prison in Auckland, which is why he’ll appear via video link.

During the scheduled court hearing, media photographs won’t be allowed and reporting on the proceedings will be severely restricted under New Zealand law. The intent of the law is to avoid the possibility the reporting and images would taint the views of potential jurors before they hear evidence in court.

Judge Cameron Mander said in a note that the brief hearing will mainly be about the accused gunman’s legal representation.

Tarrant earlier dismissed lawyer Richard Peters, who was assigned to represent him during his district court appearance. Peters said Tarrant told him that he wants to represent himself. Many worry that Tarrant will try to use his trial as a soapbox to push his white supremacist views.

The judge said he had received applications from 25 media organizations to take film, photographs or audio recordings of Friday’s hearing but had denied all of them. He said reporters could remain throughout and take notes, although would be restricted in what they could report.

He said media could still use pixelated images of Tarrant which the district court judge had allowed. The pixilation obscured his face.

Retired law professor Bill Hodge said the idea behind obscuring his image was that the prosecution might need a witness to be sure he saw the gunman at the mosque rather than recognizing him from media stories.

Hodge said New Zealand and Australia were trying to preserve the ancient common-law approach to a fair trial, but that it seemed quaint in an era where people could easily find more information or images on the internet.

New Zealand’s Department of Corrections said in an email they wouldn’t answer questions such as where Tarrant was being held due to operational security reasons. They said that despite some restrictions, he was being managed in accordance with New Zealand and international laws regarding the treatment of prisoners.

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