The arrest of Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange dominates many of Friday’s newspaper front pages.
The Daily Mail leads on the removal by police yesterday of Julian Assange, from the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
Its front page has a large photo of the activist being driven away in a police van, with the headline: “That’ll wipe the smile from his face”.
The tone of relish continues inside the paper. In a four-page spread, entitled “downfall of a narcissist”, it says Assange has alienated many of those who used to support him – including perhaps crucially those who financed his expensive legal battles.
There is a picture of Assange on the front of the Guardian, making a “V for victory” sign through the window of a police van.
Like several of the other papers, it focuses on the book he was holding as he was hustled out of the embassy. “Gore Vidal: History of the National Security State” is a collection of interviews in which the author criticised US foreign policy, and corruption in the media.
The cartoonist in the Telegraph, Matt, pokes fun at the arrest. He depicts the Ecuadorian embassy with a blue plaque that reads: “Julian Assange lived here for what seemed like 700 years”.
In its editorial, the Daily Mirror suggests that his credibility has been shattered. It says that where he was once regarded as a hero of free speech, he’s now seen as “an unwanted guest who abused his hospitality”, and tried to hide from justice.
Its opinion column argues that “no-one should feel sympathy, as he swaps the self-imposed captivity of a small room at the embassy for a prison cell”.
It argues that his decision to take refuge there in 2012 – to avoid facing sexual assault charges in Sweden, that were subsequently dropped – made him a fugitive from the law. And it goes on to say it’s essential he now faces justice.
The paper says the UK has been given “respite”, and points out that deciding to allow a delay “was not an easy choice for EU leaders”.
It urges politicians at Westminster not to waste the opportunity they’ve been given – but suggests that it would be a “grave mistake” for Theresa May to present an unchanged version of her deal to the Commons for a fourth vote.
There is a picture on the front page of the Financial Times of Sudanese women in Khartoum celebrating the removal from power of the President, Omar al-Bashir. “Nile spring” is the headline.
The FT describes Bashir as a “wily survivor” who’d defied the odds, maintaining power by playing off one faction against another, both domestically and internationally.
One of the Guardian’s columnists, Nesrine Malik, who is from Sudan, describes how, while studying in Khartoum, she experienced the brutality of Bashir’s regime.
Security forces stormed the university campus, after a student election didn’t go the way they wanted. She describes how a fellow student was beaten by a soldier, who asked “where are the heroes?”
Ms Malik says that, decades later, his question has finally been answered – the heroes are those who took part in the recent mass protests, that led to Bashir’s downfall.
The Daily Mail reports on the jailing for manslaughter yesterday of Jack Shepherd, who fled abroad after killing a woman in a speedboat crash on the Thames. “Behind UK bars at last” is the headline.
The paper contrasts Shepherd’s behaviour – described by the judge as “cowardly and selfish” – with that of the family of his victim, Charlotte Brown.
It says they stood outside the Old Bailey, after the verdict was given, “shoulder to shoulder – a vision of dignity, strength and integrity”.
Meanwhile, the Times reports on how Audrey Hepburn defied the Nazis during the Second World War – before she became a film star.
It describes how she and her family risked death by harbouring a British paratrooper in the Netherlands in 1944.
The revelations are in a new book being published this month. Under the headline “fair lady”, the paper’s leader column says that – although Hepburn was discreet in later life about the experience – she undoubtedly showed “great courage as well as independence of spirit”.
Finally, the Daily Telegraph seems unimpressed by a decision by the Co-op supermarket to start selling a gender neutral “gingerbread person”.
It reports that the move is intended to be inclusive. The paper’s leader points out that in the past, gingerbread men “have not usually shown signs of gender identity”.