Julian Paul Assange (born 3 July 1971) is an Australian editor, publisher and activist who founded WikiLeaks in 2006. WikiLeaks came to international attention in 2010 when it published a series of leaks provided by U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning.[a] These leaks included the Baghdad airstrike Collateral Murder video (April 2010), the Afghanistan war logs (July 2010), the Iraq war logs (October 2010), and Cablegate (November 2010). After the 2010 leaks, the United States government launched a criminal investigation into WikiLeaks.
What is sex allegations against Julian Assange?
Assange visited Sweden in August 2010. On 20 August, he became the subject of sexual assault allegations from two women. On 30 August, Assange was questioned by the Stockholm police regarding the allegations, which he denied. The preliminary investigation was later discontinued, but on 1 September 2010, Överåklagare (Director of Public Prosecution) Marianne Ny decided to resume the preliminary investigation concerning all of the original allegations. Assange left Sweden on 27 September 2010.
On 18 November 2010, the Swedish police issued an international arrest warrant. Later that day, Julian Assange told journalist Raffi Khatchadourian that Sweden has a “very, very poor judicial system” and a culture of “crazed radical feminist ideology”. He commented that, more importantly, his case involved international politics, and that “Sweden is a U.S. satrapy.” In a later interview he described Sweden as “the Saudi Arabia of feminism.” On 8 December 2010, Assange gave himself up to British police and attended his first extradition hearing, where he was remanded in custody. On 16 December 2010, at the second hearing, he was granted bail by the High Court of Justice and released after his supporters paid £240,000 in cash and sureties. A further hearing on 24 February 2011 ruled that Assange should be extradited to Sweden. This decision was upheld by the High Court on 2 November and by the Supreme Court on 30 May the next year
Where does Julian Assange case stands now?
Assange faces a dwindling number of options after the UK government approved his extradition to the United States on Friday. The decision is the latest chapter in a prolonged legal battle that started when former military intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning leaked classified government documents about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, which Assange published on WikiLeaks in 2010.
Friday’s decision, approved by UK home secretary Priti Patel, is the latest in a series of legal battles Julian Assange has lost in his effort to remain in the UK. It’s a blow to Assange, who has spent the last decade either in hiding in Ecuador’s London embassy or in a UK prison. And his increasingly likely prosecution in US courts creates a precarious moment for First Amendment rights and the ability of news outlets to publish material deemed a threat to national security.
Friday’s ruling overturns a December 2021 decision that declared Assange could not be extradited because subjecting him to US incarceration could increase the risk of suicide. The judge has accepted US assurances that Assange won’t face solitary confinement and will have access to psychological treatment.
Assange’s legal team has 14 days to appeal, according to the Home Office. His next step, now that the defense’s argument based on Assange’s suicide risk has been rejected, would likely be to focus on the other arguments his team has made against extradition, such as the threat it poses to press freedom and the political bias against Assange from United States law enforcement, given that Assange has been a thorn in the side of the US executive branch for over a decade.
“I think there’s a lot of roads to run here,” says Naomi Colvin, UK/ Ireland director at the advocacy group Blueprint for Free Speech.
Where would Julian Assange be tried in the U.S.?
A federal grand jury indicted Assange in the Eastern District of Virginia. If he loses his appeal and is extradited, his first court appearance would be in the Albert V. Bryan U.S. Courthouse in Alexandria, Va., just outside of Washington, D.C. The case is assigned to District Judge Claude M. Hilton.
If Julian Assange is convicted, he could face up to 10 years in prison for each of the 17 most serious felony counts against him — although the Justice Department notes, “Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties.”
What’s the next move in the Julian Assange fight?
The U.K. Home Office said British courts had not found extradition would be incompatible with Assange’s “human rights, including his right to a fair trial and to freedom of expression.”
“That last point is pretty crucial,” London-based journalist Willem Marx told NPR. It’s where legal experts believe Julian Assange will focus his appeal, Marx says, adding “as well as on this really interesting potential political motivation his team allege [is] behind this extradition request.”
The extradition fight has dragged on since Assange was jailed in the U.K. in 2019. A British magistrate ruled in Assange’s favor in early 2021, saying he faced a high risk of suicide if he were sent into the U.S. justice system. But the U.S. appealed that decision — and won.
In March, the U.K. Supreme Court ruled Julian Assange couldn’t appeal the lower court’s ruling against him, saying his case “didn’t raise an arguable point of law.” One month later, another judge formally approved the U.S. extradition request, putting the next move in the hands of Home Secretary Priti Patel — who then signed the extradition order.