WikiLeaks founder's fight against extradition
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange appeared in a British court Monday to fight attempts to extradite him to Sweden over sex crime allegations.
Here is a timeline of the whistle-blowing website's rise to prominence and subsequent attempts to clamp down on the site and extradite its founder:
- December 2006:
Wikileaks.org is set up by a group of people including Assange, an Australian former computer hacker. Its aim is to let whistle-blowers 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 Swiss bank Julius Baer helped clients launder funds via the Cayman Islands.
- November 2009:
Wikileaks publishes a huge archive of text pager messages recorded in the US 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. They later rescind the measure, but renew it the following month.
- October 23:
WikiLeaks publishes some 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 an international 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 hands 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 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.
- January 11, 2011:
Assange appears in court in London, where a judge sets a date for Sweden's bid to extradite him to be heard in full.
- February 7:
At start of a two-day hearing, lawyer Geoffrey Robertson tells a London court that Assange would face "flagrant denial of justice" if extradited to Sweden over the sex crime allegations.
© 2011 AFP