December 2006: Julian Assange, a former Australian computer hacker, founds Wikileaks.org. The website aims to provide a platform for whistleblowers to post sensitive and secret political documents while keeping their identity anonymous.
February 2008: Wikileaks exposes Swiss Bank, Julius Baer, for involvement in money laundering. It publishes internal documents to show that the bank was helping clients launder funds via the Cayman Islands. This leads to the first of many legal charges against Wikileaks.
November 2009: Wikileaks releases a comprehensive archive of text pager messages recorded in the US on September 11,2001, the day when hijacked airplanes crashed into the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington.
April 2010: Wikileaks releases a video of a 2007 US military helicopter strike on Baghdad, Iraq, and the casualties that resulted from this. Bradley Manning, an American soldier, is charged and arrested for leaking the information.
July 2010: Wikileaks releases classified US military documents on the war in Afghanistan revealing details of civilian victims and alleged links between Pakistan and the Taliban.
August 2010: A Swedish court issues an arrest warrant for Assange on charges of rape made by two Swedish women, who were also former employees of Wikileaks but then decides to postpone the warrant until November.
October 2010: Wikileaks releases some 400,000 accounts written by American soldiers from 2004 to 2009 revealing that the US decided to ignore cases of torture by Iraqi authorities on civilians.
November 2010: Swedish prosecutor re-issues European arrest warrant for Assange. Ten days later, Wikileaks releases classified US diplomatic cables, revealing assessments of American officials on a range of issues together with views of other governments.
December 2010: Assange hands himself over to London’s police and is placed in custody pending a Swedish court’s ruling on the extradition request. A few days later, Assange is released on bail and tells media that the rape allegations are part of a politically-motivated campaign to undermine him. He was ordered by the court to live at a supporter’s country side mansion in eastern England.
February 2011: A British judge rules Assange can be extradited to Sweden to face sexual assault allegations. He dismisses claims made by Assange’s lawyers who argued that Assange would not receive a fair trial in Sweden. The 39-year-old denied three allegations of sexual assault and one allegation of rape in Stockholm last year.
July 2011: Assange appeals against the extradition ruling.
September 2011: Assange’s unauthorised biography is released in England in which he completely denies the sexual assault allegations made against him.
October 2011: Assange announces Wikileaks will temporarily stop publishing classified US diplomatic files to concentrate on fundraising for the website after incurring a 95% loss in its revenue due to a financial blockade by credit card companies such as MasterCard and Visa.
November 2011: British High Court judges reject Assange’s appeal against his extradition to Sweden.
January 2012: Assange appeals his extradition at British Supreme Court.
May 2012: British Supreme Court rejects Assange’s extradition appeal and rules that he must be tried in Sweden.
June 2012: Assange makes a plea for asylum in Ecuador after seeking refuge at the South American nation’s embassy in London. Ecuador’s foreign minister announced that they would be evaluating Assange’s request according to international law.
June 28th 2012: Assange ordered by British police to turn himself in on an extradition notice.
June 29th 2012: Assange refuses to turn himself in to British police and officials say they will arrest him as soon as he leaves Ecuador’s embassy. Ecuador delays decision on Assange’s request for asylum.
July 2012: Wikileaks hires Spain’s former human rights judge, Baltasar Garzon, to lead the legal team fighting for Assange. Garzon is said to have met Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in London. read more
August 2012: UK warns Ecuador it may raid its London embassy if it doesn’t hand over Assange to the British police. Ecuador condemns such a threat and few hours later, announces that it will grant Assange political asylum.