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Julian Assange timeline: Who is Assange? 10 years of Wikileaks founder’s legal battles

Julian Assange has been ‘trapped’ says Vivienne Westwood

Today Julian Assange has found out he cannot be extradited to the United States following a lengthy legal battle. Mr Assange has appeared at the Old Bailey today, where District Judge Vanessa Baraitser gave her judgment on whether he should be extradited to face the charges in the US. Mr Assange’s fiancee, Stella Moris, with whom he has two young sons, was at the Old Bailey for the hearing.

Who is Julian Assange?

Julian Assange, 49, is an Australian editor, publisher, and activist who founded WikiLeaks in 2006.

He lived in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for seven years and faces an 18-count indictment, alleging a plot to hack computers and a conspiracy to obtain and disclose national defence information.

The case follows WikiLeaks’s publication of hundreds of thousands of leaked documents in 2010 and 2011 relating to the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, as well as diplomatic cables.

Prosecutors say Mr Assange helped US defence analyst Chelsea Manning breach the Espionage Act in unlawfully obtaining material, was complicit in hacking by others, and published classified information that put the lives of US informants in danger.

Mr Assange denies plotting with Ms Manning to crack an encrypted password on US Department of Defence computers and says there is no evidence anyone’s safety was put at risk.

Read More: Julian Assange court case: Wikileaks founder WON’T be extradited to US

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Timeline of Julian Assange and Wikileaks

2010

  • August – An arrest warrant was issued for Mr Assange for two separate allegations, one of rape and one of molestation – after he visits Sweden for a speaking trip. He was questioned by police in Stockholm and denies the allegations.
  • November – Stockholm District Court approved a request to detain the WikiLeaks founder for questioning on suspicion of rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion. An international arrest warrant was issued by Swedish police through Interpol.
  • December – Mr Assange presented himself to London police and appeared at an extradition hearing where he is remanded in custody. He was later granted conditional bail at the High Court in London after his supporters offer £240,000 in cash and sureties.
  • December – Donald Trump called for the death penalty for Mr Assange.

2011

  • February – District Judge Howard Riddle ruled Mr Assange should be extradited to Sweden.
  • November – Mr Assange lost a High Court appeal against the decision.

2012

  • May – The UK Supreme Court upheld the High Court decision.
  • June – Mr Assange entered the Ecuadorian embassy in London, requesting political asylum. A day later, Scotland Yard confirmed he will be subject to arrest for breaching his bail conditions.

2013

  • June – Mr Assange said he will not leave the embassy even if sex allegations against him are dropped, because he fears moves are under way to extradite him to the US.
  • 2014
  • July – He lost a legal bid to have an arrest warrant issued in Sweden cancelled.

2015

  • August 13 – Swedish prosecutors drop investigations into some of the sex allegations against Mr Assange due to time restrictions. The investigation into suspected rape remained active.
  • October 12 – The Metropolitan Police end their 24-hour guard outside the Ecuadorian embassy. It breaks a three-year police operation which is estimated to have cost more than £12 million.

2016

  • September 16 – Sweden’s Court of Appeal rejected a bid by Mr Assange to have his sex assault warrant dropped.
  • October – WikiLeaks published Democratic National Committee emails to the political benefit of Mr Trump, who remarks during his campaign: “I love WikiLeaks.”
  • November 14 – Mr Assange was questioned for two days at the Ecuadorian embassy in the presence of Sweden’s assistant prosecutor Ingrid Isgren and police inspector Cecilia Redell.

2017

  • January 17 – Barack Obama’s decision to free Ms Manning prompts speculation over Mr Assange’s position.
  • April 21 – America’s attorney general Jeff Sessions said Mr Assange’s arrest is a “priority” for the US.
  • May 19 – An investigation into a sex allegation against Mr Assange is dropped by Sweden’s director of public prosecutions.
  • August 15 – Mr Assange was allegedly offered a deal to avoid extradition in exchange for revealing the source of hacked Democratic Party emails to end speculation over Russian involvement.
  • December – Unnamed US figures who have been paying a security contractor to bug Mr Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy discussed a desperate plan to kidnap or poison him, it was claimed.

2018

  • August 9 – The US Senate Committee asked to interview Mr Assange as part of its investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
  • September 27: Mr Assange stepped down as editor of WikiLeaks.

2019

  • January – Mr Trump claimed to know nothing about WikiLeaks, only that “there is something having to do with Julian Assange”.
  • January 10 – A legal defence fund was launched for Mr Assange amid fears he is under “increasingly serious threat”.
  • January 23 – Lawyers for Mr Assange say they are taking action aimed at making Mr Trump’s administration reveal charges “secretly filed” against him.
  • March – Ms Manning was jailed again for refusing to give evidence to a grand jury investigating WikiLeaks.
  • April 11 – Mr Assange was arrested after the Ecuadorian government withdrew his asylum, blaming his “repeated violations” of “international conventions and daily-life protocols”.
  • He was found guilty of breaching the Bail Act and remanded in custody at Belmarsh prison.
  • May 1 – Mr Assange was sentenced to 50 weeks imprisonment by Southwark Crown Court. He continues to be held on remand in Belmarsh from September after serving the custodial sentence.
  • May 19 – Swedish authorities resume the investigation into the alleged rape.
  • November 19 – The alleged rape investigation is discontinued.

2020

  • January 13 – Mr Assange appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court and was backed by dozens of supporters including rapper MIA.
  • February 24 – He faced an extradition hearing at Woolwich Crown Court.
  • His representatives argued he cannot legally be handed to the US for “political offences” because of a 2003 extradition treaty.
  • March 25 – Mr Assange appeared by video link at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, where he was refused bail amid the coronavirus crisis.
  • April 11 – Stella Moris, Mr Assange’s partner, who gave birth to his two children while he was living inside the Ecuadorian embassy, issued a plea for his release due to fears for his health.
  • June 24 – The US Department of Justice issued an updated 18-count indictment over Mr Assange’s alleged role in “one of the largest compromises of classified information in the history of the United States”.
  • August 25 – Ms Moris visited him in Belmarsh prison for the first time in almost six months.
  • September 7 – Mr Assange’s extradition hearings resumed at the Old Bailey.
  • October 1 – Judge Vanessa Baraitser adjourned the case.
  • November 26 – Mr Moris urged Mr Trump to pardon Mr Assange before he leaves office.

2021

  • January 4 – Mr Assange found out he cannot be extradited to the USA at the Old Bailey

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