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Julian Assange's Biography

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Who is Julian Assange?

Julian Paul Assange was born in Townsville in Queensland, Australia, in 1971

Assange's mother married a theatre director, and they moved around Australia. When Julian Assange was eight, his mother left her husband and had a relationship with another man with whom she had a boy.

It was a difficult relationship and the two separated and largely because of his mother's fear of her ex-partner taking their boy away, once more Julian had a nomadic existence.

It is reported that Julian Assange's family moved thirty-seven times by the time he was fourteen.

Julian Assange himself had a child at 18, and he was to have a prolonged custody battle.

Assange was adept at using computers from an early age and used to call himself Mendax. Together with two other hackers he formed a group International Subversives, that broke into computer systems including networks belonging to the U.S. Department of Defence.

In 1995 he pleaded guilty to various offences and was fined.

Julian Assange researched Suelette Dreyfus's book called Underground: Tales of Hacking, Madness, and Obsession on the Electronic Frontier, in which 'Mendax' also features.

Also, during the 1990s, Julian Assange worked in computer security, devised software programmes, and co-invented Rubberhose deniable encryption.

He spent four years studying maths at Melbourne University but did not graduate.

In 2006, Julian Assange co-founded Wikileaks, a site which would become world famous for its publication of leaked documents and videos.

Raffi Khatchadourian's article No Secrets: Julian Assange's mission for total transparency provides a valuable insight into Julian Assange's life.

The Sydney Morning Herald has an interview with Julian Assange, in which he confirmed he never met Stieg Larsson, however, as the article mentions there are parallels with some of Larsson's characters.

In August 2010, personal allegations were made against Julian Assange, which he denied. Swedish prosecutors withdrew an arrest warrant against him on rape charges, after they received additional information, however they were still investigating a separate allegation of molestation.

However, days later, the case took another twist when Public Prosecutions Director Marianne Ny ordered the reopening of the rape investigation into Julian Assange.

In November 2010, Wikileaks caused a major stir by releasing 251,287 secret messages sent by US diplomatic staff.

On 7 December 2010, Julian Assange was arrested on a European Arrest Warrant by the Metropolitan Police in London.

On 14 December 2010, Julian Assange was granted bail, but remained in custody pending an appeal by Swedish prosecutors against the bail decision.

The appeal against Assange's bail was turned down and he was duly released.

On 7 February 2011, Assange's UK extradition hearing commenced at Belmarsh Magistrates' Court.

On 24 February 2011, District Judge Howard Riddle ruled that Assange should be extradited to Sweden.

In September 2011, Canongate, a Scottish publisher, released an unauthorised version of Julian Assange's autobiography.

On 2 November 2011, the UK high court dismissed Assange's appeal against extradition to Sweden.

In June 2012, the UK's Supreme Court dismissed Julian Assange's attempt to reopen his appeal against extradition to Sweden and subsequently he sought political asylum at Ecuador's London embassy.

On 16 August 2012, Ecuador announced that it had decided to grant Assange asylum, however, it looked like he still faced arrest by UK authorities as soon as he stepped outside the Ecuador embassy in Knightsbridge, London.

On 4 February 2016, the BBC reported that a United Nations panel had ruled in favour of Julian Assange after he had complained he was "arbitrarily detained".

On 19 May 2017, Sweden decided to drop the rape investigation into Julian Assange, revoking its arrest warrant.

However, the Metropolitan Police Service said that he still faced the lesser charge of failing to surrender to a court and that he would be arrested if he left the Ecuadorean Embassy.

In April 2019, WikiLeaks tweeted:

Julian Assange was arrested a week later on 11 April 2019.

Shortly afterwards he was sentenced to 50 weeks' imprisonment for breaching bail for not surrendering to police in 2012.

In April 2020, Stella Moris, a South African-born lawyer, who had two sons with Assange while he was in Ecuadorian embassy, claimed he was in danger from coronavirus while in prison.

On 4 January 2021, a British judge ruled that Assange could not be extradited to the US to face charges of espionage and of hacking government computers.

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