The Julian Assange odyssey

Juli­an Assange is an Aus­trali­an-born journ­al­ist, known as WikiLeaks’s founder, and edit­or-in-chief. WikiLeaks is a mul­tina­tion­al media organ­isa­tion that pub­lishes “clas­si­fied” or oth­er­wise restric­ted doc­u­ments from anonym­ous sources.

In 2010, after rev­el­a­tions about the United States mil­it­ary and dip­lo­mat­ic activ­it­ies in Iraq and Afgh­anistan, Assange found him­self at the heart of an inter­na­tion­al politico-judi­cial affair that deprived him of his free­dom. Ini­tially placed on pro­ba­tion, he sought refuge in the Ecuadori­an embassy in Lon­don from 2012 to 2019 and was ulti­mately incar­cer­ated in the high-secur­ity pris­on of Belmarsh. 

This deten­tion, which has las­ted for 14 years, has been con­sidered arbit­rary since 2015 by the United Nations Work­ing Group on Arbit­rary Deten­tion in its Opin­ion of 4 Decem­ber 2015.

Since 2018, the U.S. has reques­ted his extra­di­tion on an indict­ment for vari­ous charges, mostly related to the highly con­tested Espi­on­age Act.

How­ever, all indic­ate that the tri­al he will under­go will not com­ply with inter­na­tion­al human rights stand­ards. He faces a 175-year sen­tence — in real­ity, per­petu­al and incom­press­ible — which would con­sti­tute an inhu­man and degrad­ing treat­ment accord­ing to the accep­ted human rights stand­ards. He will likely be sub­ject to ill-treat­ment and tor­ture dur­ing his U.S. deten­tion, both pre-tri­al and after his conviction.

In June 2022, the Brit­ish gov­ern­ment approved the extra­di­tion request. Juli­an Assange remains in pris­on in Bel­marsh pending the out­come of the appeal proceedings.

Important dates:

December 2006

5 April 2010

Pub­lic­a­tion by WikiLeaks of the Col­lat­er­al Murder video provided by Chelsea Manning.

25 July 2010

Pub­lic­a­tion by WikiLeaks of Afghan War Logs with The New York Times, The Guard­i­an and Der Spiegel.

20 August 2010

Swedish court issues arrest war­rant for Juli­an Assange on rape charges.

25 August 2010

Swedish pro­sec­utor Eva Fin­né can­cels the arrest warrant.

1 September 2010

Decision by the Swedish Pub­lic Pro­sec­utor’s Office to resume the invest­ig­a­tion con­cern­ing the sus­pec­ted rape.