Julian Assange in Online News & World News

Assange’s 12-year Battle to Escape Extradition to US

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Jailed WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange faces extradition to the United States for the 2010 publication of thousands of leaked classified documents after the British government Friday approved his extradition. Online News

Here is a timeline of events leading up to the decision.

  • 2010: assault charges –

Assange’s WikiLeaks whistleblowing website begins releasing 470,000 US classified military documents in July 2010 about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The site later releases another batch of more than 250,000 classified US diplomatic cables.

In November, a Swedish prosecutor issues an arrest warrant for Assange over sexual assault allegations involving two women.

He denies the claims, saying they had consensual sex, but is arrested after he reports to police in London in December. A week later he is released on bail.

  • 2012: embassy refuge –

In February 2011, a British judge rules Assange can be extradited to Sweden.

He appeals, claiming the Swedish allegations are a pretext to transfer him to the US to face charges over publishing the military files.

In June 2012, he takes refuge in Ecuador’s embassy in London. Ecuador, then ruled by left-wing president Rafael Correa, grants him asylum in August.

In May 2017, Swedish prosecutors drop the sex assault investigation after failing to obtain Assange’s transfer.

In December, Ecuador grants Assange nationality but is blocked by Britain from according him diplomatic status.

  • 2019: arrest, prison –

In January 2018, Ecuador, now ruled by right-wing President Lenin Moreno, says hosting Assange has become “untenable”.

In March it temporarily cuts his communication links. Tensions peak in April 2019 when Moreno says Assange has “repeatedly violated” the conditions of his asylum.

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Ecuador revokes his citizenship on April 10.

The next day, British police drag Assange from the embassy following the withdrawal of his asylum. He is arrested on a US extradition request.

In May, Assange is sentenced to 50 weeks in jail for having breached bail in 2010.

Julian Assange in Online News & World News
Stella Moris girlfriend of Julian Assange speaks to the media after a ruling that he cannot be extradited to the United States, outside the Old Bailey in London, Monday, Jan. 4, 2021. A British judge has rejected the United States’ request to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to face espionage charges, saying it would be “oppressive” because of his mental health. District Judge Vanessa Baraitser said Assange was likely to commit suicide if sent to the U.S. The U.S. government said it would appeal the decision.(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

The legal process for his extradition to the US begins, and Swedish prosecutors reopen the rape investigation.

  • US charges –

On May 23, the US Justice Department charges Assange with violating the US Espionage Act by publishing military and diplomatic files in 2010.

If convicted, he faces jail terms of up to 175 years.

UN rights experts Nils Melzer says Assange has been subjected to “psychological torture” that had seriously affected his health.

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Assange makes his first court appearance since being jailed on June 15 via video-link. Subsequently, he looks frail and confused.

  • 2020: Trump claim –

In February court hearings, Assange’s lawyers claim then US president Donald Trump had promised him a pardon if he denied Russia had leaked him damaging emails about Hillary Clinton ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

The White House denies the claim.

  • Swedish charge dropped –

On November 19, Swedish prosecutors drop the rape investigation because “the evidence is not strong enough” despite “credible” claims from his alleged victim.

  • 2021: Victory, then setback –

Assange’s supporters celebrate after a London court blocks his extradition in January on the grounds he would be a suicide risk if sent to the US.

But with the whistleblower still behind bars, a High Court appeal overturns the verdict and sends the case back to the original court after a US promise he would not be held in isolation in American jails and would receive proper medical treatment.

  • 2022: Permission to appeal –

Judges in January grant Assange permission to appeal, offering a glimmer of hope. But on March 14, the Supreme Court refuses to hear his appeal. A week later he marries Stella Morris at Belmarsh high-security jail.

On June 17, London approves his extradition — prompting WikiLeaks to slam a “political” decision and a “dark day for press freedom and for British democracy”.


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