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UK Julian Assange Extradition Case Concludes

|News, International and organised crime

By an agreement reached between the US Justice Department and Julian Assange, Mr Assange left the UK yesterday, following arrangements facilitated by the Crown Prosecution Service.

The Crown Prosecution Service’s 14-year involvement in attempts to extradite Mr Assange has now concluded, subject to the formal withdrawal of the US extradition request.

Since 2010, the CPS's Extradition Unit has provided expert legal advice to its Swedish and US counterparts on the extradition process, and represented them as their respective cases progressed through the English courts. It carries out this role under a reciprocal legal obligation to international cooperation in criminal justice.

The English extradition process does not include any finding of guilt or innocence – it just decides whether the wanted individual should be extradited for trial.

Mr Assange was first arrested in December 2010, on a warrant issued by the Swedish prosecutor. Westminster Magistrates’ Court then ordered his extradition in 2012. After this ruling he was subject to court bail pending surrender to the Swedish police. However Mr Assange evaded this by entering the Ecuadorean Embassy, where he remained for seven years. In doing so he also committed a criminal offence by failing to surrender for extradition to Sweden.

Following the withdrawal of the Swedish arrest warrant in 2017, Mr Assange was made subject to new extradition proceedings from the US.

After his departure from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in 2019 Mr Assange was arrested for failing to surrender, for which he was sentenced to 50 weeks’ imprisonment. He served his sentence, but was held on remand in custody at HMP Belmarsh until his release yesterday (June 24).

Stephen Parkinson, Director of Public Prosecutions, said: “Thirteen-and-a-half years and two extradition requests after he was first arrested, Julian Assange left the UK yesterday, following a bail hearing last Thursday, held in private at his request.

“I am proud of the way our extradition unit has dealt with this case. They have acted with expertise and skill, under international scrutiny, to provide legal advice to both the Swedish and US authorities.

“This case has absorbed considerable time and resource from the criminal justice system over many years. The intended outcome of the plea agreement will be to accomplish the primary objective of delivering justice. It will also save the continuing substantial resource outlay involved in litigating this matter further in England.”

John Sheehan, Head of Extradition at the CPS, said: “This has been a highly complex matter involving advising and representing the Swedish and US authorities.

“In this period, the CPS’s extradition unit has faced and dealt with novel and challenging legal issues. Mr Assange has also utilised all the legal protections available to him.

“This has culminated in facilitating the arrangements necessary to enable Mr Assange to leave the UK legally and safely.”  

The potential for Mr Assange’s proposed plea agreement to settle his extradition case first came to our attention in March this year. Thereafter, the CPS advised the United States on the mechanics of how to bring the proposed agreement to fruition under UK law in light of the agreement’s requirement that Mr Assange be released from UK custody and appear in person before a US federal judge. The CPS has also worked closely with the National Crime Agency to help put in place the necessary practical arrangements to enable Assange to leave the jurisdiction safely, and in accordance with his wishes and those of the US Government.

Following the sentencing by the US Federal Judge, the Government of the USA is expected to formally withdraw the extradition request, bringing the English extradition proceedings to a formal and immediate conclusion.

Notes to editors

  • John Sheehan is a Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor for the CPS Serious Economic, Organised Crime and International Directorate and Head of the CPS’ Extradition Unit.
  • The CPS Extradition Unit represents foreign authorities that are seeking the return of a requested person. The unit provides advice to foreign authorities on the validity of the request and then act on their behalf in court proceedings. 
  • Northern Mariana Islands are a territory incorporated into the jurisdiction of the US.
  • The Swedish arrest warrant related to alleged sexual offences.
  • The US arrest warrant related to hacking and publication of classified material.
  • As of 25 June 2024, Mr Assange is still subject to an extradition order made on 17 June 2022 by the Home Secretary, which he was appealing at the High Court. 


13-17 August 2010: Alleged offences committed in Sweden.

24 November 2010: Domestic arrest warrant issued by Svea Court of Appeal, Sweden.

2 December 2010: European arrest warrant issued.

6 December 2010: European arrest warrant certified by SOCA.

7 December 2010: JA arrested by appointment. Initial hearing (SDJ Riddle). Bail refused.

14 December 2010: Second hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court (SDJ Riddle): Conditional bail granted. Intention to appeal indicated by CPS.

16 December 2010: Bail appeal hearing at the High Court (Ouseley J). Conditional bail granted.

7, 8, 11 February 2011: Extradition hearing (SDJ Riddle).

24 February 2011: Extradition ordered.

1 March 2011: Appeal against extradition order lodged.

12 and 13 July 2011: Appeal heard (Sir John Thomas PQBD and Ouseley J).

Grounds of appeal: (1) The EAW had not been issued by a "judicial authority"; (2) The EAW did not meet the dual criminality test; (3) The Applicant was not an “accused” within the meaning of s.2(3) 2003 Act; (4) The issue of the EAW and subsequent proceedings were not proportionate.

2 November 2011: Appeal dismissed.

5 December 2011: High Court certifies a point of law of general public importance.

15 December 2011: JA applied for permission to appeal to the Supreme Court.

16 December 2011: Permission to appeal to the Supreme Court granted.

Issue: Whether the public prosecutor is a judicial authority.

1 and 2 February 2012: Supreme Court hearing.

30 May 2012: Supreme Court dismissed appeal.

12 June 2012: JA application to reopen Supreme Court’s decision.

Issue: JA sought opportunity to make submissions on relevance of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties.

14 June 2012: Application to reopen the Supreme Court’s decision dismissed. Swedish authorities agree that time for extradition to commence 14 days from this date (29 June 2012).

19 June 2012: JA enters Ecuadorian embassy and remains in breach of bail conditions.

28 June 2012: Metropolitan Police Service writes to JA requiring him to surrender the following day at Belgravia Police Station for surrender to Sweden. Letter served by hand on Ecuadorian Embassy Consul and on JA’s representatives. Embassy confirmed letter handed to JA personally.

29 June 2012: Warrant issued (DJ Purdy) for JA’s arrest.

8 October 2012: Order of SDJ Riddle requiring sureties to pay part of sums guaranteed.

16 July 2014: Stockholm City District Court rejects JA’s challenge and upholds validity of domestic warrant of arrest.

13 August 2015: Offences of suspected unlawful coercion and an incident of sexual molestation became time barred.

18 August 2015: Offences of sexual molestation became time barred.

13 August 2015: Marianne Ny (Swedish prosecutor) gave the following statement:

“Julian Assange, on his own accord, has evaded prosecution by seeking refuge in the Embassy of Ecuador. As the statute of limitation has run on some of the crimes, I am compelled to discontinue the investigation with respect to these crimes. I regret having to say, that this means there will be no closure with regard to these events, as we have not been able to interview the suspect.”

19 May 2017: Swedish IJA discontinued the investigation against JA for rape.

22 December 2018: The US requested the provisional arrest of JA on 22 December 2017 for unrelated offences of conspiring with Chelsea (formerly knowns as Bradley) Manning to unlawfully access computers to obtain classified information. (These offences date from 2010-11 and Manning has been convicted of these offences in the US.)

11 April 2019: The Metropolitan Police arrested JA and removed him from the Ecuadorian Embassy, following the withdrawal of asylum by the Government of Ecuador. JA was initially arrested on a warrant issued at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in June 2012 in relation to a Bail Act offence. He was subsequently further arrested on a warrant issued in December 2017, pursuant to a request for provisional arrest from the US Government, sought as a precursor to possible extradition proceedings. JA was produced at Westminster Magistrates’ Court where he pleaded Not Guilty to the Bail Act Offence. JA declined to give evidence but submissions were made on his behalf that he had a ‘reasonable excuse’ not to answer bail. JA was found guilty of the Bail Act offence and the matter was sent to Southwark Crown Court for sentencing.

1 May 2019: JA is sentenced to 50 weeks’ custody for the bail act offence.

6 June 2019: The USA issue a superseding indictment now charging JA with 18 counts of espionage and computer hacking. Prosecutors say he conspired with Chelsea Manning to hack into a Pentagon Computer and release secret diplomatic cables and military files on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

24 February 2020: JA’s extradition hearing commenced at Belmarsh for one week and went part heard.

25 March 2020: JA applies for bail on the basis that he vulnerable to COVID and cannot be protected in Prison. Bail is refused.

May 2020: The extradition hearing for JA is delayed amid the COVID 19 pandemic.

7 September 2020: JA’s extradition hearing continued at the Old Bailey for three weeks.

4 January 2021: DJ Baraitser ruled that JA could not be extradited to the US because he is likely to commit suicide if held under harsh US prison conditions. The CPS gave notice to appeal on behalf of the US.

6 January 2021: JA makes further bail appeal. Bail refused.

26 February 2021: The US provide assurances that JA will not be incarcerated at ADX, Florence, Colorado nor be subject to Special Administrative Measures within the prison estate.

6 July 2021: Permission to appeal was granted on three of our five grounds and refused on two.

27-28 October 2021: Two-day substantive appeal heard incorporating a renewal hearing on the two grounds where bail was refused.

10 December 2021: The High Court rules that the US assurances are sufficient. Permission to appeal granted on two grounds, the discharge is quashed and the case is remitted back to Westminster.

23 December 2021: The defence apply to the Supreme Court to certify a point of law.

24 January 2022: The High Court certified a question of public importance.

14 March 2022: The Supreme Court refused leave to appeal.

20 April 2022: SDJ Goldspring sent the case to the Secretary of State for extradition to be ordered.

17 June 2022: The Secretary of State orders extradition.

30 June 2022: JA lodges an appeal.

6 June 2023: Mr Justice Swift refuses permission to appeal.

13 June 2023: JA files an application for an oral renew of his application to appeal.

20-21 February 2024: A two-day renewal hearing takes place.

26 March 2024: The court delivered its judgement and ruled that unless satisfactory assurances are provided by the US leave to appeal would be granted on the grounds that extradition is barred as JA might be prejudiced on grounds of his nationality and because of inadequate death penalty/specialty protection. The Court ruled that any such assurances must be provided by 16 April 2024.

16 April 2024: Assurances provided to the court.

20 May 2024: The High Court accepted the death penalty assurance and that ground of appeal was dismissed. The court did not accept the assurance provided that JA would not be able to raise a defence under the first amendment and would be prejudiced an account of his nationality and permission to appeal was granted in respect of these two grounds.

6 June 2024: The appeal hearing has been listed for two days from 9-10 July 2024.

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