Julian Assange: The timeline and key events in the WikiLeaks founder’s legal battles

Staff Writers
Julian Assange was charged with conspiracy to obtain and disclose national defence information. (AP PHOTO)
Julian Assange was charged with conspiracy to obtain and disclose national defence information. (AP PHOTO) Credit: AAP

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has reached a deal to plead guilty to one count of violating the US espionage law. This is the timeline of his legal battles.

Key events in Julian Assange’s life and legal battles:

July 1971 - Assange is born in Townsville 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

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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 US helicopter showing an air strike that killed civilians in Baghdad

July 25, 2010 - WikiLeaks releases more than 91,000 documents, mostly secret US 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 US 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

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

Julian Assange in 2017
Julian Assange at the Ecuador embassy in 2017. (AP PHOTO) Credit: AAP

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

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

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

November 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

February 21, 2020 - A London court begins the first part of extradition hearings

January 4, 2021 - A British judge rules that Assange should not be extradited to the US to face criminal charges, saying his mental health problems mean he would be at risk of suicide

December 10, 2021 - The US wins an appeal against the ruling after a judge says he is satisfied with a US 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

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

Julian Assange
Julian Assange after spending four years in prison in London while he fights extradition to the US. (AP PHOTO) Credit: AP

February 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 US 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

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

Julian Assange has walked free after he was granted bail by the High Court in London and was released at Stansted airport

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