Julian Assange: A Timeline Of The WikiLeaks Founder's Case
After almost seven years, a bearded Julian Assange was carried from the Ecuadorian embassy in London by police.
Assange, an Australian, came to international attention as the founder of the whistle-blowing website Wikileaks.
So, why was he holed up inside the embassy?
Here are the key dates in the case of one of the world's most controversial figures.
READ MORE: Julian Assange Arrested In London
Wikileaks, Assault Allegations
Assange founded Wikileaks in 2006 and jumped into the international spotlight in 2010 when the website published classified material about U.S. military activity in Iraq and Afghanistan over several months.
There was a decrypted video from Iraq, a six-year archive of classified military documents about war in Afghanistan, and, later, secret reports about the Iraq war.
Later that year, Assange was investigated over sexual assault allegations involving two women in Sweden.
A Swedish prosecutor issued a European arrest warrant for Assange in November, for questioning in connection with accusations of "rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion". Assange said he was afraid Sweden would hand him in to U.S. authorities investigating Wikileaks, and vowed to fight the extradition request.
He presented himself to police in London in December 2010 where he was remanded in custody after a hearing and later granted conditional bail.
In November 2011, a British judge ruled in favour of the extradition -- a decision his lawyers challenged, having previously arguing he would not receive a fair trial.
Refuge In The Embassy
Assange took refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in central London in June 2012, requesting political asylum. After two months spent living there, Ecuador rejected pressure from Britain and granted him asylum, as British police warned he would be subject to arrest if he left.
Days later, Assange emerged on the embassy's balcony and called on the U.S. government to "renounce its witch hunt" against WikiLeaks.
He reappeared months later claiming "the door is open" for talks to avoid extradition to Sweden.
Assange 'Arbitrarily Detained'
Fast forward to February 2016, when a United Nations panel said Assange was being "arbitrarily detained" and called on authorities to end his "deprivation of liberty" -- a ruling that was rejected by Britain and Sweden.
In November that year, Swedish prosecutors questioned Assange at the embassy in London in an interview that spanned two days.
Sweden Drops Rape Allegation
In May 2017, Swedish prosecutors said they would drop their preliminary investigation into a rape allegation against Assange, though maintained this did not presume his innocence.
As leftist Lenin Moreno was inaugurated as president of Ecuador, he labelled Assange a "hacker", stating he could remain in the embassy but was not to meddle in Ecuador's domestic politics.
That December, Ecuador granted Assange citizenship at his request.
But the relationship between Assange and his hosts began to sour. In March 2018, the Ecuadorean government cut his internet access because his social media messages were putting its "good relations" with Britain, the European Union and other nations "at risk".
Warrant Upheld In The U.K.
Meanwhile, a British court ruled that the arrest warrant for Assange over breach of bail conditions remained valid.
In the U.S., the Senate committee asked to interview Assange in August 2018 as part of its investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
In November 2018, reports emerged that Assange had been charged under seal by the U.S. Justice Department for unspecified crimes.
As 2019 rolled in, lawyers for Assange said they were taking action aimed at making the Trump administration reveal the “secretly-filed” charges.
Meanwhile, the relationship between Assange and Ecuador continued to sour.
In April, Moreno accused Assange of repeatedly violating the terms of his asylum, saying private photographs of himself and his family had circulated online but stopping short of directly accusing WikiLeaks of circulating the hacked photos.
According to WikiLeaks, Moreno's statement was retaliation for WikiLeaks having reported on corruption allegations against Moreno.
Assange Kicked Out In 'Hours To Days'
Two days later, WikiLeaks said Assange was to be kicked out of the embassy in "hours to days".
British police arrested him at Ecuador's embassy on April 11 after the country's government revoked his asylum status.
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