Julian Assange: from political asylum to prison

Paris (AFP) –


WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is fighting extradition to the United States to face charges over the 2010 publication of thousands of classified documents.

Swedish prosecutors decided Monday to reopen his investigation for alleged rape in 2010, which he denies and says is a pretext for his US transfer,

Here is a timeline of events since Assange first hit the headlines in 2010 :

- 2010: arrest warrant -

- July to October: The WikiLeaks whistleblowing website releases 470,000 classified military documents concerning US diplomacy and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. It later releases a further tranche of more than 250,000 classified US diplomatic cables.

- November: A Swedish prosecutor issues a European arrest warrant for Assange over sexual assault allegations involving two Swedish women. Assange denies the claims, saying the women consented.

- December: He turns himself in to police in London and is arrested pending a ruling on the Swedish request for his extradition. A week later he is released on bail and calls the allegations a smear campaign.

- 2011: extradition ruling -

- February: A British judge rules that Assange can be extradited to Sweden. He launches an appeal.

- 2012: refuge at embassy -

- June: He takes refuge in Ecuador's embassy in London to avoid extradition and applies for political asylum.

British police say he is subject to arrest for breaching the conditions of his 2010 bail, which included staying at his bail address overnight.

- August: Ecuador grants Assange asylum and he begins his almost seven-year stay and in the Ecuadorian embassy in London

- 2016: UN appeal -

- January: Ecuador rejects a request by Swedish prosecutors to question Assange over the sexual assault allegations.

- February: The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention says Assange has been "arbitrarily detained".

- 2017: sex case closed -

- January: WikiLeaks says Assange could travel to the United States to face investigation if his rights are guaranteed. This comes after one of the site's main sources of leaked documents, military intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, is granted clemency.

- May: Swedish prosecutors drop the seven-year sex assault investigation, frustrated by the failure to have him extradited. The lawyer for one accuser calls the decision "a scandal".

- December: Ecuador grants Assange nationality but is blocked by Britain from according him diplomatic status.

- 2018: embassy tensions -

- January: Ecuador says it is seeking a mediator to resolve the "untenable" situation.

- February: Assange loses a bid to have his British arrest warrant cancelled on health grounds.

- March: Ecuador cuts off his communications -- including use of the internet or a mobile phone -- alleging he broke an agreement on interfering in other countries' affairs. It warns further breaches will lead to "termination of asylum".

- October: Assange sues the Ecuador government for violating his "fundamental rights" but the case is thrown out. His communications are partially restored.

- November: US prosecutors inadvertently disclose the existence of a sealed indictment against Assange.

- 2019: arrest -

- April 2: Ecuador's President Lenin Moreno says Assange has "repeatedly violated" the conditions of his asylum.

- April 10: Ecuador cancels his citizenship.

- April 11: British police arrest Assange at the embassy, saying Ecuador had informed them that his asylum had been withdrawn. He is held for breaching his 2010 bail conditions and also on a US extradition request.

- May 1: Assange is sentenced to 50 weeks in jail for breaching bail.

- May 2: The legal process for his extradition to the US starts in a London court, Assange vowing to resist.

- May 13: Swedish prosecutors say they are reopening the 2010 rape investigation.