Julian Assange still faces arrest warrant - UK police

  • 20/05/2017
Julian Assange
Julian Assange (Reuters)

British Prime Minister Theresa May says it's up to police to decide if Julian Assange should be arrested if he leaves the Ecuadorean embassy in London, after Swedish prosecutors dropped a rape investigation against the WikiLeaks founder.

Asked if she would support Britain extraditing Assange to the US, Ms May replied: "We look at extradition requests when we receive them on a case by case basis.

"And in relation to Julian Assange, any decision that is taken about UK action in relation to him were he to leave the Ecuadorian embassy would be an operational matter for the police."

Metropolitan Police say the Westminster Magistrates' Court issued a warrant for his arrest in 2012, and they'd be obliged to execute it if he leaves the embassy.

The 45-year-old Assange has always denied the rape allegation but has been holed up in the embassy since 2012 to avoid extradition.

A timeline of the ongoing saga of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange:

June 7, 2010 - US Army Specialist Bradley Manning is arrested in connection with the release of a classified video. He is accused of leaking government files to WikiLeaks and aiding the enemy and faces a court-martial in September 2012.

July 25 - More than 91,000 documents, most of them secret US military reports about the war in Afghanistan, are released by WikiLeaks. In October, WikiLeaks releases another 400,000 classified military files chronicling the war in Iraq.

November 18 - A Swedish court orders Assange's detention because of an investigation by a Swedish prosecutor into allegations against him of rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion.

November 28 - WikiLeaks releases thousands of US diplomatic cables.

December 7 - Assange is arrested by British police on a European warrant issued by Sweden and held in jail. Bail, set at £200,000, is granted on December 16.

August 25, 2011 - WikiLeaks releases thousands of US diplomatic cables from its cache of more than 250,000 State Department reports.

November 2 - Britain's High Court rules Assange should be extradited to Sweden. Assange takes refuge in Ecuador's embassy in London and asks for political asylum. Police say the next day he faces arrest for breaking the conditions of his bail.

August 16 - Ecuador grants Assange political asylum.

March 13, 2015 - After years of insisting Assange must go to Stockholm for questioning, Swedish prosecutors say they want to interview him at Ecuador's London embassy.

August 13 - Swedish prosecutors drop investigations into the allegations of sexual assault against Assange but continue with investigations over the rape allegation.

November 14-15 - Assange is interviewed at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

April 13 - CIA Director Mike Pompeo calls WikiLeaks a "hostile intelligence service".

May 3 - Assange's lawyer again requests a Swedish court to rescind the detention order.

May 19 - Swedish prosecutors say they are dropping their investigation into Assange over the rape allegation, saying there were no further avenues to pursue to take the investigation forward. London police say he will still be arrested if he leaves the embassy building.