Timeline Of WikiLeaks Founder’s Legal Battles

Julian Assange: Timeline Of WikiLeaks Founder's Legal Battles

Julian Assange to plead guilty in deal with the US authorities as he appears in the US court this week.


WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has reached a deal to plead guilty to one count of violating the U.S. espionage law, prosecutors said in court papers on Monday.

He is due to appear in a U.S. federal court in the Northern Mariana Islands this week where he is expected to be sentenced to time served and allowed to return home to Australia.

Following are some key events and details in Assange’s life:

July 1971 – Assange is born in Townsville, Australia, to parents involved in theatre. As a teenager, he gains a reputation as a computer programmer. In 1995, he is fined for computer hacking but avoids prison on condition he does not offend again.

2006 – Assange founds WikiLeaks, creating an internet-based “dead letter drop” for leakers of classified or sensitive information.

April 5, 2010 – WikiLeaks releases leaked video from a U.S. helicopter showing an air strike that killed civilians in Baghdad, including two Reuters news staff.

July 25, 2010 – WikiLeaks releases more than 91,000 documents, mostly secret U.S. military reports about the Afghanistan war.

October, 2010 – WikiLeaks releases 400,000 classified military files chronicling the Iraq war. The next month, it releases thousands of U.S. diplomatic cables, including candid views of foreign leaders and blunt assessments of security threats.

Nov. 18, 2010 – A Swedish court orders Assange’s arrest on sex crime allegations, which he denies. He is arrested in Britain the next month on a European arrest warrant but freed on bail.

February 2011 – London’s Westminster Magistrates’ Court orders Assange’s extradition to Sweden. He appeals.

June 14, 2012 – The British Supreme Court rejects Assange’s final appeal. Five days later, he takes refuge in Ecuador’s embassy in London and seeks political asylum, which Ecuador grants in August 2012.

May 19, 2017 – Swedish prosecutors discontinue their investigation, saying it is impossible to proceed while Assange is in the Ecuadorean embassy.

April 11, 2019 – After Ecuador revokes his political asylum, Assange is carried out of the embassy and arrested. He is sentenced on May 1 to 50 weeks in prison by a British court for skipping bail. He completes the sentence early but remains in jail pending extradition hearings.

May 13, 2019 – Swedish prosecutors reopen their investigation and say they will seek Assange’s extradition.

June 11, 2019 – The U.S. Justice Department formally asks Britain to extradite Assange to the United States to face charges that he conspired to hack U.S. government computers and violated an espionage law.

Nov. 19, 2019 – Swedish prosecutors drop their investigation, saying the evidence is not strong enough to bring charges, in part because of the passage of time.

Feb. 21, 2020 – A London court begins the first part of extradition hearings.

Jan. 4, 2021 – A British judge rules that Assange should not be extradited to the U.S. to face criminal charges, saying his mental health problems mean he would be at risk of suicide.

Dec. 10, 2021 – The U.S. wins an appeal against the ruling after a judge says he is satisfied with a U.S. package of assurances about the conditions of Assange’s detention.  

March 14, 2022 – Britain’s Supreme Court denies Assange permission to appeal against the decision to extradite him to the United States.

March 23, 2022 – Assange marries his long-term partner Stella Moris, the mother of his two children fathered inside the Ecuadorean embassy, inside a British high-security prison.

June 17, 2022 – Britain orders Assange’s extradition to the United States, prompting Assange to appeal.

June, 2023 – Judge at London’s High Court rules Assange has no legal grounds to appeal.

Feb. 20, 2024 – Assange launches what his supporters say will be his final attempt to prevent extradition.

March 26, 2024 – The extradition is put on hold when the court says the U.S. must provide assurances that Assange will not face a potential death penalty.

May 20, 2024 – The High Court gives Assange permission to launch a full appeal against his extradition on grounds that, as a foreign national on trial, he might not be able to rely on the First Amendment right to free speech that U.S. citizens enjoy.

June 24, 2024 – The U.S. Justice Department and Assange reveal a deal in which he will plead guilty to one criminal count and be sentenced to time served.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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