Chronicle of the Assange case: it all started in 2006

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Written By Maya Cantina

Julian Assange founded the Wikileaks platform in the mid-2000s. Now the whistleblower has been released after years of litigation. An overview.

Teenager Assange turns around in a pedestrian area

Assange in Stockholm, 2010 Photo: Lina Alriksson/DN/imago

BERLIN taz/dep | Almost fourteen years ago, the first American secret documents were published by Wikileaks. Platform founder Julian Assange will now be released. An overview.

2006

Julian Assange, an Australian computer specialist, founded the Wikileaks disclosure platform. The goal: to help whistleblowers uncover hidden information.

2009

A US Army intelligence analyst, Chelsea Manning, downloads large amounts of data from a secret network and uploads it to Wikileaks.

2010

From July to October, Wikileaks published approximately 470,000 classified documents related to US diplomatic activities and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Another 250,000 documents will be added later. They contain explosive information about US operations in these countries, including the killing of civilians and the abuse of prisoners. The American justice system arrests Manning.

Julian Assange is becoming known worldwide. In November, Swedish public prosecutors issued an international arrest warrant for him. The Australian is accused of sexual offences. He denies the accusation and turns himself in to the police in London shortly afterwards. Assange is released on bail pending a decision on Sweden’s extradition request.

2011

A British court grants the Swedish extradition request. Assange fears that Sweden could extradite him to the US.

2012

To avoid extradition to Sweden, Assange unexpectedly escapes his lengthy house arrest to the Ecuadorian embassy in London, ignoring bail conditions. He is given political asylum there.

2013

Chelsea Manning has been sentenced to 35 years in prison. It is the longest sentence in US history for a leak-related case.

2016

Before the US presidential elections in the fall, the Wikileaks platform published approximately 20,000 emails from the Democratic party apparatus. They come from the campaign team of candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. In the end, she narrowly loses the election Donald Trump of the Republicans.

2017

US President Barack Obama waived most of Manning’s sentence and she was released. The Public Prosecution Service in Sweden closes the investigation against Assange.

2018

Ecuadorian embassy staff cut off Assange’s communications access. A document surfaced in the US in which charges were secretly filed against him.

2019

Ecuador’s President Lenín Moreno says Assange has “repeatedly violated the terms of his asylum at the embassy.” After seven years at the embassy, ​​British police arrest Assange after his asylum was revoked. He is sentenced to 50 weeks in prison for breaching bail conditions. The US legal system is stepping up charges against Assange: if convicted, he could face up to 175 years in prison.

2020

The main hearing in the extradition proceedings begins in London. A psychiatrist testifies in court that Assange is at risk of committing suicide. The Australian is severely depressed and has hallucinations.

2021

The responsible court in London decides that Assange cannot be extradited to the US. There is a “significant” risk that Assange will kill himself in prison. The US government is appealing against this. The High Court in London agrees with the American side and lifts the extradition ban. Shortly afterwards, Assange’s partner announced that the Wikileaks founder had suffered a mini-stroke.

2022

Assange goes to the High Court in London – without success. A British extradition decision follows. The Australian is appealing against this.

2024

The British Supreme Court is demanding guarantees from the US that Assange will not face the death penalty if he is tried in the US. In April, US President Joe Biden stated thisthat his country was considering an Australian request to end Assange’s prosecution. At the end of June, Assange reached an agreement with the American legal system. He will soon be released in exchange for his guilty plea to publishing military secrets. He leaves Britain.

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