Timeline of the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s ongoing saga
Swedish prosecutors drop the rape investigation against Assange on Friday
An investigation into a sex allegation against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been dropped by Sweden’s Director of Public Prosecution.
The development is the latest in a long-standing saga involving Mr Assange, who has been living inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for almost five years.
Here are the key dates in the case:
:: An arrest warrant is issued for Mr Assange for two separate allegations — one of rape and one of molestation — after he visits Sweden. He is questioned by police in Stockholm and denies the allegations.
:: Stockholm District Court approves a request to detain the WikiLeaks founder for questioning on suspicion of rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion. An international arrest warrant is issued by Swedish police through Interpol.
:: Mr Assange presents himself to London police and appears at an extradition hearing where he is remanded in custody. At a later hearing he is granted conditional bail but is kept behind bars after Swedish authorities challenge the decision.
:: He is later granted conditional bail at the High Court in London after his supporters pay £240,000 in cash and sureties.
:: District Judge Howard Riddle rules Mr Assange should be extradited to Sweden and denies this would breach his human rights. Mr Assange vows to fight the decision.
:: Mr Assange loses a High Court appeal against the decision to extradite him.
:: The UK Supreme Court upholds the High Court decision in the case, ruling that extradition is lawful and can go ahead. The Supreme Court later rejects a move by Mr Assange to reopen his appeal against his extradition, saying it is “without merit”.
Mr Assange enters the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, requesting political asylum. A day later, Scotland Yard confirms he will be subject to arrest for breaching his bail conditions.
:: Mr Assange is granted political asylum by Ecuador.
:: Mr Assange makes his first public appearance in two months on the Ecuadorian Embassy’s balcony and calls for the US government to “renounce its witch-hunt” against WikiLeaks.
:: Ecuador’s ambassador to the UK, Ana Alban, says Mr Assange is suffering a chronic lung condition after spending months inside a one-room office at the embassy. The Ecuadorian government later plays down the health fears and says Mr Assange “does not have an urgent medical condition”.
:: Mr Assange marks the six-month anniversary inside the embassy by making another appearance on the balcony to say the “door is open” for talks to break the deadlock over his campaign to avoid extradition to Sweden.
:: Mr Assange tells a group of journalists he will not leave the embassy even if sex allegations against him are dropped, because he fears moves are already underway to extradite him to the United States.
:: Mr Assange loses a legal bid to have an arrest warrant issued in Sweden against him cancelled. A judge in Stockholm decided to uphold the warrant against him for alleged sexual offences against two women.
:: Mr Assange tells a press conference he will be leaving the embassy soon following speculation that he is seeking hospital treatment for heart and lung problems. He later brushes off reports that he is about to give up his fight against extradition to Sweden.
:: On behalf of Mr Assange, his legal team submitted a complaint against Sweden and the United Kingdom to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention claiming his confinement in the embassy amounts to illegal detention.
:: Mr Assange loses a legal move in a Swedish appeal court aimed at revoking his arrest warrant.
:: Mr Assange appears on the embassy’s balcony to greet Noam Chomsky, the US philosopher and activist. Hollywood actor John Cusack also visits the WikiLeaks founder later in the month.
:: Swedish prosecutors ask to question Mr Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy.
:: Mr Assange claims the Swedish prosecutor has cancelled an appointment to interview him at the embassy.
:: Swedish prosecutors drop investigations into some of the sex allegations against Mr Assange due to time restrictions. The investigation into suspected rape remains active.
:: Foreign Office minister Hugo Swire said Ecuador’s decision to harbour Mr Assange in its embassy had prevented the proper course of justice. He said the UK continued to have a legal obligation to extradite him to Sweden, where he remained suspected of a sexual offence.
:: Civil rights campaigner Jesse Jackson visits Mr Assange inside the embassy. Afterwards, he says: “Eight hundred years after the Magna Carta, freedom of the press is right and detention without charges is wrong.”
:: Metropolitan Police end their 24-hour guard outside the Ecuadorian Embassy. It breaks a three-year police operation which is estimated to have cost more than £12 million.
:: The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention says Mr Assange is being “arbitrarily detained” in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London and calls on authorities to end his “deprivation of liberty”.
The report is branded “frankly ridiculous” by foreign secretary Philip Hammond — a response which Mr Assange described as “insulting”.
:: Swedish prosecutors say they are working on a renewed request to interview Mr Assange at the embassy.
:: Lawyers for Mr Assange submit papers to a Swedish court, asking for his arrest warrant to be overturned.
:: The Government formally asks a UN Working Group to review its finding that Mr Assange was subject to arbitrary detention, saying the opinion was “deeply flawed”.
:: A Swedish court refuses to drop an arrest warrant against Mr Assange.
:: Ecuador reveals it has received a formal request from the Swedish authorities to interview Mr Assange.
:: Mr Assange files an appeal at Sweden’s Court of Appeal of Svea, arguing the country must comply with the UN working group’s findings that his deprivation of liberty was unlawful.
:: Ecuador announces that Mr Assange will be questioned by Swedish prosecutors in the embassy in London.
:: Sweden’s Court of Appeal rejects a bid by Mr Assange to have his sex assault warrant dropped, saying no new information has emerged.
:: Mr Assange is questioned over the sex allegation at the Ecuadorian Embassy in the presence of Sweden’s assistant prosecutor Ingrid Isgren and police inspector Cecilia Redell. The interview spans two days.
:: The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention rejects a request by the UK Government to review the case of Mr Assange.
:: Barack Obama’s decision to free whistleblower Chelsea Manning prompts speculation that Mr Assange will end his self-imposed exile.
WikiLeaks tweeted prior to the decision: “If Obama grants Manning clemency Assange will agree to US extradition despite clear unconstitutionality of DoJ (Department of Justice) case.”
:: Mr Assange tells a press conference that he stands by his offer to go to the US, provided his rights are respected.
:: Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage is spotted leaving the embassy where Mr Assange is being held.
:: America’s attorney general Jeff Sessions says Mr Assange’s arrest is a “priority” for the United States.