A story published a couple of days ago on Indymedia UK, allegedly by Guardian journalist Conal Urquhart, revealed that Julian Assange – the founder of WikiLeaks – has been arrested. As it turns out, the story is a hoax.“Sources close to this reporter have confirmed that WikiLeaks founder and international fugitive Julian Assange has been arrested by Scotland Yard detectives at a private medical clinic located just a five minutes drive from the Ecuadorian embassy at Hans Crescent, London (sic),” the article reads.
“It is believed that Assange had been feeling unwell since before christmas, and after consultation from the in-house doctor he was referred to the specialist clinic. Just before entering the clinic Assange was arrested by undercover Scotland Yard officers who swiftly took him into there custody. (sic)”
There are several things which point to the fact that this is a hoax and the most important of them is a tweet from Christine Assange, Julian Assange’s mother.
“Julian has NOT been arrested. It’s a hoax. Possibly troll distraction #Assange #Wikileaks #Aanonymous,” she wrote.
“Trolls targeting you? Don't let them distract you! That’s their aim. Continue to tweet important info to build support. #Assange,” she later added.
Furthermore, as CWZ notes, Anonymous hackers have communicated with Assange after the story about his arrest was published.
Experts from security firm Sophos have also analyzed this story and they’ve also concluded that it’s a hoax.
Paul Ducklin, Sophos’ head of technology, Asia Pacific, explains that Conal Urquhart’s articles – the journalist who allegedly published the story – don’t usually contain so many mistakes.
“So whether you're for or against Assange, you can stand down from Wikilert. He's not been arrested. As far as we can tell, he's still learning Spanish in his Knightsbridge flat,” Ducklin wrote.
Finally, the initial story posted on Indymedia has been hidden because it breaches the publication’s editorial guidelines.