LONDON – The extradition hearing of Julian Assange, the founder of anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks, opened in London on Monday, the latest development in a long legal saga. Here is a look at key events.
— August 2010: Swedish prosecutors issue arrest warrant for Assange based on one woman’s allegation of rape and another’s allegation of molestation. The warrant was withdrawn shortly afterward, with prosecutors citing insufficient evidence for the rape allegation. Assange denies the allegations.
— September 2010: Sweden’s director of prosecutions reopens the rape investigation. Assange leaves Sweden for Britain Sept. 27.
— November 2010: Swedish police issue an international arrest warrant for Assange.
— December 2010: Assange surrenders to police in London and is detained pending an extradition hearing. High Court grants Assange bail on Dec. 16.
— Feb. 24, 2011: District court in Britain rules Assange should be extradited to Sweden.
— Dec. 5, 2011: Assange is granted an appeal to the Supreme Court.
— May 30, 2012: Supreme Court rejects Assange’s appeal.
— June 2012: Assange asks the Supreme Court to reopen the case; the court refuses. Assange enters Ecuadorian Embassy in central London, seeking asylum on June 19. Police set up round-the-clock guard to arrest him if he steps outside.
— Aug. 16, 2012: Assange is granted political asylum by Ecuador.
— July 2014: Assange loses his bid to have an arrest warrant issued in Sweden against him canceled. A judge in Stockholm upholds the warrant alleging sexual offences against two women.
— March 2015: Swedish prosecutors ask to question Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy.
— Aug. 13, 2015: Swedish prosecutors drop investigations into some allegations against Assange because of the statute of limitations; an investigation into a rape allegation remains active.
— Oct. 12, 2015: Metropolitan Police end their 24-hour guard outside the Ecuadorean embassy but say they’ll arrest Assange if he leaves - ending a three-year police operation estimated to have cost more than 12 million pounds ($17 million).
— Feb. 5, 2016: Assange claims “total vindication” as the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention finds that he has been unlawfully detained and recommends he be immediately freed and given compensation. British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond calls the finding “frankly ridiculous.”
— April 6, 2017: After Assange makes some comments on Twitter, Ecuador’s president-elect, Lenin Moreno, warns Assange that, as a condition of asylum granted in 2012, he is not allowed to meddle in politics.
— May 19, 2017: Swedish prosecutors drop their investigation into a rape allegation against Assange, and the European arrest warrant is withdrawn because there is no prospect in the “foreseeable future” of bringing Assange to Sweden - as he is inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. Prosecutors stress that Assange had not been found innocent. British police say he is still wanted for jumping bail in 2012.
— September 2018: Ecuador’s president says his country and Britain are working on a legal solution to allow Assange to leave the embassy in “the medium term.”
— October 2018: Assange seeks a court injunction pressing Ecuador to provide him basic rights he said the country agreed to when it first granted him asylum.
— November 2018: A U.S. court filing that appears to inadvertently reveal the existence of a sealed criminal case against Assange is discovered by a researcher. No details are confirmed.
— April 2, 2019: Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno blames WikiLeaks for recent allegations of corruption.
— April 11, 2019: London police arrest Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy for breaching bail conditions in 2012, as well as on behalf of U.S. authorities, shortly after Ecuador’s government withdrew his asylum status.
— May 1, 2019: Assange is sentenced to 50 weeks in prison for jumping bail in 2012.
— May 13, 2019: Sweden reopens rape investigation.
— Nov. 19, 2019: Swedish prosecutor drops rape investigation.
— Feb. 24, 2020: Assange extradition hearing opens with plans to continue hold second hearing in May.
— May 4, 2020: Judge delays extradition hearing amid COVID-19 pandemic.
— June 25, 2020: US files new indictment against Assange that prosecutors say underscores Assange’s efforts to procure and release classified information.