Timeline of Julian Assange's long legal battle

The ruling by a panel of UN human rights experts that Julian Assange has been arbitrarily detained at the Ecuadorian embassy is the latest significant moment in the long-running saga of the WikiLeaks founder.

Here are the key dates in the case:


  • August

  • 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.

  • November

  • 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.

  • December

  • 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.

Julian Assange stayed at Ellingham Hall in Norfolk in December 2010 as part of his bail conditions. Credit: PA Archive


  • February

  • 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.

  • November

  • Mr Assange loses a High Court appeal against the decision to extradite him.

Julian Assange at the Royal Courts of Justice in December 2011. Credit: PA Archive


  • May

  • 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".

  • June 19

  • 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.

  • August 16

  • Mr Assange is granted political asylum by Ecuador.

Julian Assange made an address from inside London's Ecuadorian embassy after being granted asylum in August 2012. Credit: PA Archive


  • July

  • 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.

  • September

  • 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.

  • November

  • Mr Assange loses a legal move in a Swedish appeal court aimed at revoking his arrest warrant.

Julian Assange was visited by American philosopher and writer Noam Chomsky in November 2014, one of a number of public figures who offered their support to the WikiLeaks founder. Credit: PA Archive


  • March

  • Swedish prosecutors ask to question Mr Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy.

  • June

  • Mr Assange claims the Swedish prosecutor has cancelled an appointment to interview him at the embassy.

  • August 13

  • Swedish prosecutors drop investigations into some of the sex allegations against Mr Assange due to time restrictions. The investigation into suspected rape remains active.

  • August 16

  • 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 remains suspected of a sexual offence.

  • October 12

  • 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.

A bearded Julian Assange as seen in August 2015 as he marked three years inside the Ecuadorian embassy. Credit: PA Wire


  • February 4

  • Mr Assange releases a statement on the eve of a decision by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on his complaint. He says that if he has lost his case, he will "exit the embassy ... to accept arrest by British police."

  • He adds that if it concludes the state parties have acted unlawfully, he expects the "immediate" return of his passport and "termination" of further arrest attempts.

  • February 5

  • The UN's Working Group on Arbitrary Detention rules Mr Assange's lengthy confinement in the Ecuadorian embassy in London amounts to "arbitrary detention" by the UK and Sweden and he should receive compensation.

  • The UK's Foreign Office "completely rejects" Mr Assange is the victim of arbitrary detention and says it will formally contest the ruling by the UN's panel.

The media gathered at the Ecuadorian embassy awaiting Julian Assange's first public appearance since a UN panel ruled in his favour in his bid to walk free. Credit: PA Wire