Julian Assange (3 July 1971) is an Australian editor, publisher, and activist who founded WikiLeaks in 2006. WikiLeaks came to international attention in 2010 when it published a series of leaks provided by U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning. In November 2010, Sweden issued an international arrest warrant for Assange, after questioning him months earlier about allegations of sexual assault. Assange denied the allegations, and said they were just a pretext for him to be extradited from Sweden to the United States because of his role in publishing secret American documents. Assange surrendered to UK police on 7 December 2010 but was released on bail within ten days. Having been unsuccessful in his challenge to the extradition proceedings, he breached his £340,000 bail in June 2012 to seek asylum from Ecuador. In August 2012, Assange was granted asylum by Ecuador due to fears of political persecution and possible extradition to the United States. In January 2018, he was granted Ecuadorian citizenship; however it was suspended in April 2019. Assange remained in the Embassy of Ecuador in London for almost seven years. On 11 April 2019, Assange’s asylum was withdrawn following a series of disputes with the Ecuadorian authorities. The police were invited into the embassy, and he was arrested. Later that day he was found guilty of breaching the Bail Act and on 1 May 2019 he was sentenced to 50 weeks in prison in the United Kingdom. On the same day, the United States government unsealed an indictment against Assange for alleged computer intrusion, related to the leaks provided by Chelsea Manning. On 23 May 2019, the United States government further charged Assange with violating the Espionage Act of 1917. Editors from newspapers including The Washington Post and The New York Times criticised the government’s decision to charge Assange under the Espionage Act. After having been dropped in 2017, Swedish prosecutors reopened their investigation in May 2019, but in November closed it again, saying that the evidence had weakened over time. Assange is incarcerated in HM Prison Belmarsh, reportedly in ill health.
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