SHARE
COPY LINK
WIKILEAKS CONTROVERSY

WIKILEAKS

WikiLeaks and Julian Assange: a timeline

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Wednesday lost his appeal against a British court ruling to extradite him to Sweden to answer questions over accusations of sexual assault and rape.

WikiLeaks and Julian Assange: a timeline

Here is a timeline of the whistleblowing website’s rise to prominence and subsequent attempts to clamp down on the site and extradite its founder:

December 2006

Wikileaks.org is set up by a group of people including Assange, an Australian former computer hacker. Its aim is to let whistleblowers post sensitive documents on the Internet without being traced.

February 2008

WikiLeaks faces its first serious legal challenge over its publication of internal documents showing Swiss bank Julius Baer helped clients launder funds via the Cayman Islands.

November 2009

Wikileaks publishes a huge archive of text pager messages recorded in the US on September 11, 2001, the day hijackers crashed planes into the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington.

April 2010

WikiLeaks releases a video of a US military Apache helicopter strike in Baghdad in 2007 which killed two Reuters employees. A 22-year-old American soldier, Bradley Manning, is arrested and charged with leaking the information.

July 25

The site publishes nearly 77,000 classified US military documents on the war in Afghanistan. The documents reveal details of civilian victims and supposed links between Pakistan and the Taliban.

August 21

The Swedish judicial authorities issue an arrest warrant for Assange on charges of rape. They later rescind the measure, but renew it the following month.

October 23

WikiLeaks publishes some 400,000 reports of incidents written from 2004 to 2009 by US soldiers, revealing torture by Iraqi forces and evidence that US forces turned a blind eye to it.

November 18

A Swedish prosecutor issues a European arrest warrant for Assange.

November 28

WikiLeaks starts releasing more than 250,000 classified US diplomatic cables, revealing the often frank assessments of American officials on a huge range of issues as well as the views of other governments.

December 7

Assange hands himself in to police in London and is placed in custody pending a ruling on the Swedish extradition request.

December 16

Assange is released on bail and tells journalists the Swedish rape allegations are part of a smear campaign against him. Under the bail conditions, he must live at a supporter’s country mansion in eastern England.

February 24, 2011

A British judge rules Assange can be extradited to Sweden, rejecting claims that the Swedish prosecutor had no power to issue the European arrest warrant and that the allegations did not amount to extradition offences.

The decision followed a three-day hearing earlier in the month, when lawyer Geoffrey Robertson said Assange would face a “flagrant denial of justice” if extradited.

July 12

Assange begins his appeal against the extradition ruling. A decision is delayed until November.

September 22

An unauthorised biography of Assange hits the shelves in Britain despite his efforts to stop its publication. It is based on hours of interviews he gave to a ghost writer, and includes a strong denial of the allegations.

“I did not rape those women and cannot imagine anything that happened between us that would make them think so, except malice after the fact, a joint plan to entrap me, or a terrifying misunderstanding that was stoked up between them,” he wrote.

October 24

Assange announces that WikiLeaks is suspending publishing classified US diplomatic files to focus on fundraising, after losing 95 percent of its revenue following a financial blockade imposed by Visa, MasterCard and others.

November 2

Two High Court judges reject Assange’s appeal against his extradition on all four counts. He now has 14 days to decide whether he will try to take the case to the Supreme Court, although leave to appeal must first be granted.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

JULIAN ASSANGE

Assange will cooperate with Sweden, but fight US warrant: lawyer

Julian Assange would cooperate with Swedish authorities if they reopen a rape case against him but will continue to resist any bid to extradite him to the United States, his lawyer said Sunday.

Assange will cooperate with Sweden, but fight US warrant: lawyer
Julian Assange's lawyer Jennifer Robinson in London on Thursday. Photo: AP Photo/Matt Dunham/TT

“We are absolutely happy to answer those queries if and when they come up,” Jennifer Robinson told Sky News television about the rape claims.

“The key issue at the moment is US extradition, which we have warned about for many years,” she added.

The WikiLeaks founder is in custody in London awaiting sentencing for breaching his British bail conditions in 2012 by seeking refuge in Ecuador's London embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden.

He was arrested at the embassy on Thursday after Ecuador gave him up, and is now also fighting a US extradition warrant relating to the release by WikiLeaks of a huge cache of official documents.

The Australian has always denied the claims of sexual assault and rape in Sweden. The first expired in 2015 and the other was dropped in 2017, but the alleged rape victim has now asked for the case to be reopened.

If Stockholm makes a formal extradition request, the British government will have to decide whether to consider it before or after that of the United States.

Robinson said Assange would seek assurances from Sweden that he would not be sent on to America, saying: “That is the same assurance we were seeking in 2010 and the refusal to give that is why he sought asylum.”

She added: “He's not above the law. Julian has never been concerned about facing British justice or indeed Swedish justice. This case is and has always been about his concern about being sent to face American injustice.”

The US indictment charges Assange with “conspiracy” for working with former US Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to crack a password stored on Department of Defence computers in March 2010.

He faces up to five years in jail.

Manning passed hundreds of thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks, exposing US military wrongdoing in the Iraq war and diplomatic secrets about scores of countries around the world.

The conspiracy charge against Assange seems intended to sidestep limits on prosecution potentially arising from the US Constitution's First Amendment guarantee of press freedom.

But Robinson insisted: “This indictment clearly engages newsgathering activities and the kinds of communications that journalists have with sources all the time.”

The lawyer condemned as “outrageous” claims made by Ecuador about Assange's behaviour in the embassy, including that he smeared his faeces on the wall, saying: “That's not true.”

Quito also accused him of failing to care for his cat. WikiLeaks said Assange had asked his lawyers to “rescue him (the cat) from embassy threats” in October, adding: “They will be reunited in freedom.”

Assange's father, John Shipton, on Sunday urged Australia to bring his son home.

READ ALSO: 

SHOW COMMENTS