Timeline of WikiLeaks founder's extradition fight

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at a news conference in London on Aug 18, 2014. PHOTO: REUTERS

(AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE) - Here are key dates in the five-year legal saga of Australian WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

- November 2010: A Swedish prosecutor issues a European arrest warrant for Assange on sexual assault charges involving two Swedish women. Assange denies the charges, saying the young women consented.

WikiLeaks starts releasing more than 250,000 classified US diplomatic cables, revealing often frank assessments of US officials as well as the views of other governments.

Some 500,000 classified military documents concerning American diplomacy and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq had already been released by Wikileaks in July and October, 2010, respectively.

- December 2010: Assange turns himself in to police in London and is placed in custody pending a ruling on the Swedish extradition request. He is later released on bail and calls the Swedish rape allegations a smear campaign. Under the bail conditions, he must live at a supporter's mansion in England.

- February 2011: A British judge rules that Assange can be extradited to Sweden. In November, Britain's High Court rejects an appeal against his extradition. Assange fears Sweden will hand him over to US authorities who could prosecute him for publishing the documents and possibly sentence him to death.

- June 2012: Assange requests political asylum at the Ecuador embassy in London. He is allowed to stay there by the government in Quito.

- October 2013: Ecuador demands that Britain allows Assange to fly to Quito.

- July 2014: A Swedish court upholds the European arrest warrant against Assange.

- August 2014: Assange's lawyer says he will not leave the embassy until it is guaranteed he will avoid extradition to the United States.

- November 2014: Assange loses an appeal against the arrest warrant.

- September 2014: Assange files a complaint against Sweden and Britain with the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.

- February 2015: WikiLeaks says the cost of policing Assange is £10 million (13 million euros, S$14 million), the equivalent of 39,000 hospital beds. Police say they spend 11,000 euros (S$17.2 million) a day on surveillance.

- Assange's lawyers ask Sweden's Supreme Court to quash the arrest warrant.

- March 2015: Swedish prosecutors offer to question Assange in London. He initially accepts, but Quito demands later that an Ecuador prosecutor do the questioning.

- February 2016: Assange says he will turn himself over to British police if the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention rules that he has not been arbitrarily detained.

- February 2016: The UN panel rules that Assange's confinement in the Ecuador embassy amounts to illegal detention, Sweden's foreign ministry says.

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