Julian Assange sex assault allegations: Timeline

  • 12 October 2015
  • From the section Europe
Julian Assange on 14 June 2013 Image copyright AFP

Swedish prosecutors have been investigating allegations of sexual assault by Julian Assange while on a 2010 visit to Stockholm to give a lecture.

The Wikileaks co-founder has taken refuge in London's Ecuadorean embassy since 2012 and now time has run out for Swedish prosecutors to question him over some of the claims, which he denies.

These are the key dates:

  • August 2010 - the Swedish Prosecutor's Office first issues an arrest warrant for Mr Assange. It says there are two separate allegations - one of rape and one of molestation. Mr Assange says the claims are "without basis"
  • May 2012 - the UK's Supreme Court rules he should be extradited to Sweden to face questioning over the allegations
  • June 2012 - Mr Assange enters the Ecuadorean embassy in London
  • August 2012 - Ecuador grants asylum to Mr Assange, saying there are fears his human rights might be violated if he is extradited
  • August 2015 - Swedish prosecutors drop their investigation into two allegations - one of sexual molestation and one of unlawful coercion because they have run out of time to question him. But he still faces the more serious accusation of rape. He continues to deny all the allegations
  • October 2015 - Metropolitan Police announces that officers will no longer be stationed outside the Ecuadorean embassy.

Below is more information on the key dates:

12 October 2015

Scotland Yard announces it will no longer be sending officers to stand guard outside the Ecuadorean embassy in Knightsbridge, central London. Officers have been there since 2012, at an estimated cost of more than £12m.

In a statement the Met Police said: "Like all public services, MPS resources are finite. With so many different criminal, and other, threats to the city it protects, the current deployment of officers is no longer believed proportionate."

However it also said it would be deploying "a number of overt and covert tactics to arrest" Mr Assange.

13 August 2015

Swedish prosecutors drop their investigation into one accusation of sexual molestation and one of unlawful coercion against Mr Assange because they have run out of time to question him. A time limit on a further allegation of sexual molestation is due to run out on 18 August. The more serious allegation of rape is not due to expire until 2020.

Mr Assange says he is "extremely disappointed".

13 March 2015

Prosecutors, who had previously insisted on interrogating Mr Assange in Sweden, offer to travel to London to question him. His lawyer welcomes the move. Swedish prosecutors say they changed their position because the time limit for potential prosecution is to expire soon.

20 November 2014

Sweden's Court of Appeal upholds the arrest warrant against Mr Assange, but criticises prosecutors for failing to move the investigation forward.

18 September 2014

Mr Assange tells the BBC's John Simpson his self-imprisonment at the Ecuadorean embassy is a "difficult situation for a national security reporter". But, he says, there is now recognition in the UK that the situation should never have occurred and he believes there will be "a significant change" in the next year.

18 August 2014

Mr Assange says he will leave London's Ecuadorean embassy "soon" after two years of refuge. Sitting next to Ecuador's foreign minister Ricardo Patino at a press conference, he does not clarify when he will depart but says it is "probably not" for the reasons reported in the UK press. Stories had suggested he required medical treatment.

16 July 2014

A Swedish court rules the arrest warrant against Mr Assange will remain in place. The court in Stockholm agreed with prosecutors who had argued that the warrant should formally be upheld.

19 June 2014

Interviewed by reporters at the Ecuadorean embassy on the second anniversary of his asylum claim, Mr Assange claims unspecified individuals made threats against his children and his mother.

19 June 2013

A year after he walked into the embassy, Mr Assange vows to remain in the building even if accusations of sex crimes are dropped. He says he still fears being sent to the US for releasing secret documents on the Wikileaks website.

15 February 2013

The cost of a round-the-clock guard outside the Ecuadorean embassy in London after Mr Assange took refuge last June has reached almost £3m, the Metropolitan Police says.

29 November 2012

Ecuador's ambassador says Mr Assange has a chronic lung infection "which could get worse at any moment". Her comments come after the embassy said it has sought assurances that Mr Assange would not be arrested if he was taken to hospital, saying it was "very concerned" over his health.

8 October 2012

Nine people who put up bail sureties for Mr Assange are ordered by a judge to pay thousands of pounds each after his failure to appear in court.

31 August 2012

In an Ecuador TV interview, Mr Assange predicts that he will remain inside the embassy in London for "six to 12 months", suggesting the Swedish authorities dropping the case against him is "the most likely scenario". But Foreign Secretary William Hague has said there is "no solution in sight".

20 August 2012

The UK insists it will not grant Mr Assange "safe passage" to Ecuador as it seeks a diplomatic solution to him being given asylum. Downing Street said the government was legally obliged to extradite him to Sweden.

19 August 2012

Mr Assange urges the US to end its "witch-hunt" against Wikileaks, in his first public statement since entering Ecuador's London embassy.

16 August 2012

Ecuador grants asylum to Mr Assange, saying there are fears his human rights might be violated if he is extradited. Foreign minister Ricardo Patino says the country is being loyal to its tradition of protecting those who were vulnerable. Mr Assange describes it as a "significant victory", but the UK government expresses its disappointment.

15 August 2012

Ecuador's foreign minister claims the UK has issued a "threat" to enter the Ecuadorean embassy in London to arrest Mr Assange. The Foreign Office says it reminded Ecuador that it has the power to revoke the diplomatic immunity of an embassy on UK soil and says Britain has a legal obligation to extradite him.

19 June 2012

Ecuador's foreign minister says Mr Assange has applied for political asylum at Ecuador's embassy in London.

14 June 2012

The Supreme Court dismisses Mr Assange's bid to reopen his appeal against extradition, branding it "without merit".

30 May 2012

The Supreme Court rules that he should be extradited to Sweden to face questioning over the allegations made against him. The judges rule by majority that the Swedish public prosecutor seeking his return is a judicial authority, dismissing Mr Assange's challenge. He has 14 days to challenge the ruling.

5 December 2011

Mr Assange wins the right to petition the UK Supreme Court directly after judges rule that his case raised "a question of general public importance".

2 November 2011

At an appeal hearing, two judges at the UK High Court uphold the decision to extradite Mr Assange to Sweden over the sex crimes allegations.

13 July 2011

The High Court defers a decision on Mr Assange's appeal against extradition.

12 July 2011

Lawyers ask the High Court to block Mr Assange's extradition to Sweden. Ben Emmerson QC says Mr Assange is a victim of a "mismatch" between English and Swedish law on what constitutes a sex crime.

3 March 2011

Lawyers lodge papers at the High Court for an appeal against extradition.

24 February 2011

At Belmarsh Magistrates' Court in south London, District Judge Howard Riddle rules that Mr Assange should be extradited to Sweden.

7 February 2011

Lawyers for Mr Assange tell a UK extradition hearing there is a risk of "denial of justice" if the Wikileaks founder is tried for rape in Sweden. They accuse the prosecutor of having a "biased view" against men.

At the two-day hearing they also say prosecutors did not follow "proper procedure" while investigating the rape claims.

16 December 2010

Mr Assange is granted bail by Mr Justice Ouseley at the High Court and is freed after his supporters pay £240,000 in cash and sureties.

14 December 2010

Judges award bail to Mr Assange, but prosecutors immediately announce they will appeal, and he is sent back to jail until a higher court can address the issue.

8 December 2010

The Wikileaks founder gives himself up to London police and is taken to an extradition hearing at a Westminster court. He is remanded in custody pending another hearing on 14 December.

30 November 2010

Interpol issues a "red notice" for Mr Assange, asking people to contact police if they have any information about his whereabouts.

20 November 2010

Swedish police issue an international arrest warrant for Mr Assange via Interpol.

18 November 2010

Stockholm District Court approves a request to detain Mr Assange for questioning on suspicion of rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion. Swedish Director of Prosecution Marianne Nye says he has not been available for questioning.

Mr Assange's British lawyer Mark Stephens says his client offered to be interviewed at the Swedish embassy in London or Scotland Yard or via video link. He accuses Ms Nye of "abusing her powers" in insisting that Mr Assange return to Sweden.

18 October 2010

The Wikileaks founder is denied residency in Sweden. No reason is given, although an official on Sweden's Migration Board tells the AFP news agency "he did not fulfil the requirements".

1 September 2010

Ms Nye says she is reopening the rape investigation against Mr Assange, eleven days after a chief prosecutor announced the arrest warrant had been dropped. Ms Nye is also head of the department that oversees prosecution of sex crimes in particular.

"There is reason to believe that a crime has been committed," she says in a statement. "Considering information available at present, my judgement is that the classification of the crime is rape."

Ms Nye says the investigation into the molestation claim will also be extended. She tells AFP that overturning another prosecutor's decision was "not an ordinary (procedure), but not so out of the ordinary either".

31 August 2010

Mr Assange is questioned by police for about an hour in Stockholm and formally told of the allegations against him, according to his lawyer at the time, Leif Silbersky. The activist denies the allegations.

21 August 2010

The arrest warrant is withdrawn. "I don't think there is reason to suspect that he has committed rape," says one of Stockholm's chief prosecutors, Eva Finne.

Ms Rosander says the investigation into the molestation allegation will continue but it is not a serious enough crime for an arrest warrant.

The lawyer for the two women, Claes Borgstrom, lodges an appeal to a special department in the public prosecutions office.

20 August 2010

The Swedish Prosecutor's Office issues an arrest warrant for Julian Assange. Karin Rosander, head of communications, says there are two separate allegations - one of rape and one of molestation.

Both women reportedly say that what started as consensual sex became non-consensual.

Wikileaks quotes Mr Assange as saying the accusations are "without basis" and that their appearance "at this moment is deeply disturbing". A later message on the Wikileaks Twitter feed says the group has been warned to expect "dirty tricks".

18 August 2010

Mr Assange applies for a residence permit to live and work in Sweden. He hopes to create a base for Wikileaks there, because of the country's laws protecting whistle-blowers.

17 August 2010

Mr Assange reportedly has sex with a woman he met at the seminar on 14 August, identified as "Miss W".

Some time between 17 and 20 August, "Miss W" and "Miss A" - the woman who arranged his speaking trip - are in contact and apparently share with a journalist the concerns they have about aspects of their respective sexual encounters with Mr Assange.

14 August 2010

"Miss A" and Mr Assange attend a seminar by the Social Democrats' Brotherhood Movement on "War and the role of media", at which the Wikileaks founder is the key speaker. The two reportedly have sex that night.

11 August 2010

Julian Assange arrives in Sweden on a speaking trip partly arranged by "Miss A", a member of the Christian Association of Social Democrats. He has not met "Miss A" before but reports suggest they have arranged in advance that he can stay in her apartment while she is out of town for a few days.

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