London Cops End $18M Wait for Assange

Police say they've spent almost $18M waiting for WikiLeaks founder to emerge
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 12, 2015 10:43 AM CDT
London Cops End $18M Wait for Assange
This Dec. 5, 2011, file photo of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange shows him making a statement to media gathered outside the High Court in London.   (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)

London cops have been staking out the Ecuadorian Embassy 24 hours a day for three years, waiting for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to venture out. That wait ended Monday as Metropolitan Police finally pulled the plug, noting in a statement that it was "no longer proportionate to commit officers to a permanent presence," NBC News reports. Assange—who's taken refuge in the embassy since June 2012, after Sweden demanded he come back for questioning in two sex-assault cases—had cost nearly $18 million or so through April 2015 to have law enforcement outside the embassy, the AP reports. The force also noted that those resources were taking away from protecting London's citizens and the "many different criminal, and other, threats to the city."

The police force, which says it consulted with the UK's Home and Foreign offices, noted that the decision had "not been taken lightly," per NBC. It simply appeared that Assange's holdout proved successful, with the force noting that "no imminent prospect of a diplomatic or legal resolution." Not that cops are giving up on an arrest, which can happen if he ever leaves the embassy: They note they're still "committed" to that goal and plan on "[deploying] a number of overt and covert tactics to arrest him"—to which a WikiLeaks tweet responded Monday by linking to a website devoted to showing how much money the British government has wasted keeping an eye on Assange. (The embassy has reportedly hatched escape plans for Assange, who's been stressing out the workers.)

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