Supporters of Assange see him as a symbol of freedom of the press, while US officials accuse him of being an enemy of the state.
The legal battle of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has resumed in the UK.
Here are some key events and details from his life to date:
July 1971 – Assange was born in Townsville, Australia to a mother and stepfather involved in theater. As a teenager, he acquired a reputation as a computer programmer and, in 1995, he was fined for computer hacking but avoided prison on condition that he no longer committed any offense.
2006 – Founds WikiLeaks, creating a “dead letter” on the Internet for leaks of classified or sensitive information.
April 5, 2010 – WikiLeaks is posting video from a US helicopter showing an airstrike that killed civilians in Baghdad, Iraq, including two staff from the Reuters news agency.
July 25, 2010 – WikiLeaks publishes more than 91,000 documents, mostly secret US military reports on the war in Afghanistan.
October 2010 – WikiLeaks publishes 400,000 classified military files relating to the Iraq war. The following month, he published thousands of U.S. diplomatic cables, including heartfelt views from foreign leaders and blunt assessments of security threats.
November 18, 2010 – Swedish court orders Assange’s arrest on rape allegations, which he denies. He is arrested in the UK next month on a European arrest warrant but released on bail.
February 2011 – The Westminster Magistrates Court in London orders the extradition of Assange to Sweden. He’s appealing.
June 14, 2012 – The British Supreme Court rejects Assange’s last appeal and five days later he takes refuge at the Ecuadorian embassy in London and seeks political asylum, which Ecuador grants in August 2012.
April 13, 2017 – US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, then head of the CIA, described WikiLeaks as “a hostile non-state intelligence service often encouraged by state actors like Russia.”
May 19, 2017 – Swedish prosecutors are ending their investigation, saying it is impossible to prosecute while Assange is in the Ecuadorian embassy.
April 11, 2019 – Assange is taken out of the embassy and arrested after Ecuador revokes his political asylum. He was sentenced on May 1 to 50 weeks in prison by a British court for having skipped the bail. He completes the sentence early but remains incarcerated pending extradition hearings.
May 13, 2019 – Swedish prosecutors are reopening their investigation and say they will seek Assange’s extradition to Sweden.
June 11, 2019 – The US Department of Justice is formally asking Britain to extradite Assange to the United States to face charges that he conspired to hack into US government computers and violated a spy law.
November 19, 2019 – Swedish prosecutors are dropping their investigation into the rape, saying the evidence is not strong enough to press charges, in part because of the passage of time.
February 21, 2020 – A London court begins the first part of the extradition hearings which are adjourned after a week. Hearings are expected to resume in May but are delayed until September due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
January 4, 2021 – At the Old Bailey in London, Judge Vanessa Baraitser concludes that it would be “oppressive” to extradite him to the United States because of his fragile mental health, saying there was a real risk that he would kill himself.
January 6, 2021 – Judge Baraitser denies Assange’s bail in a London court, saying he poses a flight risk.