Skip to content
Julian Assange “at large”: the main dates of the legal saga that lasted more than ten years

Julian Assange “at large”: the main dates of the legal saga that lasted more than ten years

Julian Assange “at large”: the main dates of the legal saga that lasted more than ten years

This is a case that has been going on for over ten years. A legal saga that began 14 years ago and in which a new chapter is being written. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has agreed to plead guilty to US authorities. This Monday he was released from a maximum security prison near London, where he spent five years. The 52-year-old Australian left the UK immediately. Looking back on more than 10 years of legal battles.

Beginning of WikiLeaks

When Julian Assange launched WikiLeaks in 2006 with the goal of “freeing the press” and “exposing state secrets and abuses,” he became, in the words of one of his biographers, “the most dangerous man in the world.” Only four years later, in 2010, he became known to the general public.

In July of the same year, the world press published 70 thousand confidential documents about the operations of the international coalition in Afghanistan, distributed by the WikiLeaks website. In October, some 400,000 reports of the US invasion of Iraq emerged, followed a month later by the contents of 250,000 US diplomatic cables.

These revelations earned him a reputation as a champion of freedom of information. But not everyone sees it that way. A decade before he entered the White House, Joe Biden, then Barack Obama’s vice president, believed that Julian Assange was more like a “high-tech terrorist” than an heir to the Pentagon Papers that had been leaked. In the 1970s, the US lied about the Vietnam War.

First arrest warrant

On 18 November 2010, Sweden issued a European arrest warrant for Julian Assange as part of an investigation into the rape and sexual assault of two Swedish women in August 2010. The Australian assured that they gave their consent. The sexual assault charges will be dropped in 2015 and the rape investigation will be closed in 2019.

On December 7, 2010, Julian Assange surrendered to British police. He was held for nine days and then placed under house arrest. In February 2011, a London court approved Sweden’s extradition request. The Australian fears that he will then be extradited to the United States and face the death penalty for publishing hundreds of thousands of American documents.

Seven years in the Ecuadorian embassy

On June 19, 2012, Julian Assange, disguised as a courier, took refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London and asked for political asylum. Ecuador, then led by leading South American leftist Rafael Correa, granted it in August. He remained at this diplomatic mission for almost seven years and acquired Ecuadorian citizenship before it was revoked.

videoWikiLeaks: Julian Assange “released” after agreement with American justice

Arrest and first sentences

On April 2, 2019, Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno, breaking with his predecessor, said that Julian Assange had violated the agreement on the conditions of his asylum. On the 11th, British police arrested him at the embassy on an American extradition request for “computer hacking.”

On May 1, he was sentenced by a London court to 50 weeks in prison for violating the conditions of his pretrial release seven years ago. On May 23, 2019, American justice charged him with 17 new charges under anti-espionage laws. He faces up to 175 years in prison.

That same month, the UN rapporteur on torture met him in prison and found him to have “all the symptoms of psychological torture.”

Extradition requests

On February 24, 2020, British justice began considering a petition to resolve the American extradition request, but rejected it at the beginning of 2021, considering that conditions of detention in the United States created a risk of suicide. Julian Assange remains in custody.

On December 10, 2021, the London High Court overturned the refusal of extradition on appeal, finding that the United States had provided assurances regarding the treatment that would be reserved for him. On 14 March 2022, the UK Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal.

On April 20, Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London formally issued the extradition order signed in June by UK Home Secretary Priti Patel. The Australian will appeal the decision on July 1, 2022.

Agreement with American authorities

In November 2022, five major newspapers (The New York Times, The Guardian, El Pais, Le Monde and Der Spiegel), the then Prime Minister of Australia, called on the United States to stop the prosecution.

A two-day hearing will be held in London’s High Court in February 2024 to consider whether Julian Assange can be granted a final appeal against his extradition. Suffering, the Australian does not participate. After asking for new guarantees from the American justice system, two British judges decided on May 20 to give Julian Assange the opportunity to appeal again. The hearing was scheduled to take place on July 9 and 10.

Meanwhile, on June 24, the Australian entered into a plea agreement with American authorities, allowing him to be free again. Julian Assange is leaving the United Kingdom with immediate effect and is due to appear in federal court in the Mariana Islands, a US Pacific territory, on charges of “conspiracy to obtain and disclose national defense information.”

Source: Le Parisien

Share this article:
globalhappenings news.jpg
most popular