Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Julian Assange


* When did Assange enter the embassy, and why is he there?

He entered the embassy on June 19, 2012 and applied for political asylum, seeking protection from US attempts to imprison him over his work as the publisher of WikiLeaks. He was granted political asylum after the UK and Sweden refused to give an assurance they would not extradite him to the US over WikiLeaks publications. The US formally started grand jury proceedings against him in May 2010.

* What is happening on 6 February 2018 at the Magistrates Court in London?

A judge is ruling on whether to dismiss a UK arrest warrant which Mr. Assange’s lawyers have declared has "lost its purpose and its function". The warrant attaches to a Swedish extradition warrant which was withdrawn on May 19, 2017. Mr. Assange is not charged in the UK and is not accused of absconding. He was never charged in Sweden at any time.

* What happens if Mr. Assange wins?

The UK government  will have to come clean about its involvement with US efforts to prosecute him. US Attorney General Jeff Sessions has confirmed that arresting Mr. Assange is a "priority" []. In 2017 then FBI director James Comey told Congress: "[Assange] hasn't been apprehended because he is in the Ecuadorian embassy in London" []
The UK refuses to confirm or deny whether it has received a US extradition warrant. The US government has pursued a grand jury against Mr. Assange since 2010 -- which is what led to his asylum in 2012.

* Why does the US government want to prosecute Assange?

A US grand jury investigation has been ongoing since May 2010 with the purpose of bringing a case against Mr. Assange over WikiLeaks publications. Efforts to extradite and charge Mr. Assange have expanded under the Trump administration to include WikiLeaks groundbreaking
series on the CIA published last year. Mr. Assange faces up to life imprisonment for multiple
charges including espionage, conspiracy to commit espionage, conspiracy, theft, and electronic espionage--a terrorism offence []

President Trump’s CIA director Mike Pompeo stated that Mr. Assange has "no First Amendment rights" and that the CIA is working to "take down" WikiLeaks. The US Senate intelligence committee has tabled legislation to declare WikiLeaks a "non state intelligence service" and that the US government should "treat it accordingly" [].

Julian published two responses in the Washington Post:

* What's so unusual about the United Kingdom's actions against Mr. Assange?

The UK remains in violation a United Nations ruling from 2016 that Mr. Assange is being subjected to Arbitrary Detention. The UK government refuses to release most of its internal
communications relating to Mr. Assange saying that to do so would compromise the United Kingdom's national security and diplomatic relations. The UK police surveillance spend against Mr. Assange was last divulged in October 2015, when the UK government admitted to having spent more than £12.6m. Following this admission, the budget for the police operation became classified because, as Metropolitan Police Chief said at the time, "the public are not necessarily supportive of it." The cost is estimated to have exceeded £21 million by February 2018.

* How many days will Mr. Assange have been detained for by 6 February 2018?

2618 days

* How long will the UK have been in breach of the UN ruling on 6 February 2018?

747 days

* How is Mr. Assange after having been in the embassy for 5.5 years?

Several doctors have recently denounced that Mr. Assange's health is in an increasingly dangerous condition. The UN found that his arbitrary detention is "cruel, inhuman and degrading" and tantamount to torture []

* What about the Swedish investigation - didn't Mr. Assange refuse to cooperate?

On the contrary - Swedish authorities could have taken Mr. Assange's statement at any time since August 2010, but refused to do so. After five years of complete inaction, Sweden's Court of Appeal forced the Swedish prosecutor to take Mr. Assange's statement in London. Swedish
authorities finally took his statement on 14 and 15 November 2016 [] and then dropped the matter entirely in response to legal action. He was never charged at any time.

* Why would Sweden refuse to take Mr. Assange’s statement?

It has been revealed through emails obtained under freedom of
information act that the UK Crown Prosecution Service told Sweden to
not interview him in the UK in 2011 and 2012 and also told Sweden not to drop its
extradition request when it moved to do so in 2013. The states also engaged in
attempts to keep this correspondence secret.