Julian Assange gestures from a police vehicle after arriving at the Westminster Magistrates' Court in London in April 2019.
Jack Taylor/Getty Images

In pictures: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange

Updated 2:58 PM ET, Mon December 13, 2021

Julian Assange gestures from a police vehicle after arriving at the Westminster Magistrates' Court in London in April 2019.
Jack Taylor/Getty Images

Julian Assange, founder of the website WikiLeaks, has been a key figure in major leaks of classified government documents, cables and videos.

The Australian is wanted in the United States on 18 criminal charges after WikiLeaks published thousands of classified files and diplomatic cables in 2010. If convicted, he faces up to 175 years in prison.

Assange spent nearly seven years holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, protected by asylum status. In 2019, his asylum was rescinded by Ecuador and he was arrested by London's Metropolitan Police in connection with bail-skipping charges and an extradition warrant from the US Justice Department.

In January 2021, a British judge rejected a US request to extradite Assange to America, ruling that such a move would be "oppressive" by reason of his mental health. In December, two senior judges overturned that ruling on the basis of four assurances that the United States made about how Assange would be treated. Assange's lawyers said in a statement that they would appeal the decision.

The judges ordered that the case should now be returned to the Westminster Magistrates' Court, with a direction that a district judge send the case to the UK Home Secretary, who will decide whether Assange should be extradited to the United States.