Timeline of WikiLeaks and its founder's extradition fight
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was Monday granted permission by the High Court in London to continue his legal fight against extradition to Sweden to answer allegations of sexual assault and rape.
Here is a timeline of the whistleblowing website's rise to prominence and subsequent attempts to clamp down on the site and extradite 40-year-old Assange:
- 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 that Swiss bank Julius Baer helped clients to launder funds via the Cayman Islands.
- November 2009:
WikiLeaks publishes a huge archive of text pager messages recorded in the United States 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, before cancelling it just hours later. WikiLeaks alleges "dirty tricks".
- October 23:
WikiLeaks publishes 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 turns 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 that 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 that 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.
- July 12:
Assange begins his appeal against the extradition ruling.
- 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 rape allegations.
- 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:
The High Court rejects Assange's appeal against his extradition on all four counts, but he asks them to grant him leave to appeal to the Supreme Court.
- November 21:
Pentagon officials say Bradley Manning will have his first hearing before a US military court on December 16, some 17 months after he was arrested.
- December 1:
WikiLeaks launches its new project, the publication of files it claims detail the global industry of mass surveillance technology.
- December 5:
The High Court defers a decision on Assange's appeal to the Supreme Court.
© 2011 AFP