WIKILEAKS founder Julian Assange may be forced out of London’s Ecuadorian embassy.
The 46-year-old’s fate is currently up in the air following reports the UK and Ecoudor are holding talks about his political asylum. Here’s what you need to know.
Who is Julian Assange? What’s his background?
The 46-year-old is an Australian native who spearheaded the anti-secrecy group Wikileaks to expose the inner workings of governments, military and trade deals around the world.
Assange is a hacker, freedom of information advocate and considers himself a political refugee.
He was born in Queensland in 1971 and attended the city’s Central university where he studied programming, mathematics and physics.
Assange has a software designer son called Daniel with ex-wife Teresa.
Will he leave the Ecuadorian Embassy?
Speculation about Assange’s future has grown after the Sunday Times reported senior officials from Ecuador and Britain were talking about how to remove him from the embassy.
Ecuador’s president Lenin Moreno said on July 27 that nobody should remain under asylum “for too long”.
Speaking at an event in Madrid, he added: “I have never been in favour of Mr Assange’s activity.”
Mr Moreno insisted any eviction of Assange from the embassy had to be carried out correctly and through dialogue, but he displayed no sympathy for Assange’s political agenda as a leaker of confidential documents.
Why is Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian Embassy?
Assange was visiting Sweden in August 2010 to speak at a conference when he met two women and had sex with them.
They accused him of rape and molestation and Assange was questioned but never charged over the claims.
He was initially told he could leave the country, but in November of that year, Interpol issued a Red Notice for his arrest.
Assange has always denied the claims.
He gave himself up a week later and appeared before a judge in Westminster, where his supporters stumped up £240,000 for his bail.
In June 2012 Swedish prosecutors called for him to be extradited – a measure his lawyers opposed in case he was sent to the US.
On June 19, 2012, he fled bail and applied for asylum in Ecuador, through the embassy in Knightsbridge, London.
The Ecuadorian authorities stated that he could remain in the embassy as long as he wished, and Assange was granted political asylum in August of that year.
On February 6, 2018, Assange’s hopes were dashed once again when Westminster Magistrates Court ruled to uphold Scotland Yard’s warrant for his arrest.
Though free to leave the embassy, the ruling means he can face arrest and extradition to the US if he steps outside the building.
When the court refused to lift the warrant, he tweeted: “Wall to wall fake news stating the government won today’s hearing. Nothing of the sort has happened.
“The hearing is still happening. Only one point has been ruled on.”
In February 2018, a UK judge and told Assange that he should face the charges against him.
In a stinging attack on Mr Assange, she said he appeared to “consider himself above the normal rules of law”.
She said: “Having weighed up the factors for and against and considered Mr Summers’ arguments I find arrest is a proportionate response even though Mr Assange has restricted his own freedom for a number of years.”
The ruling means that Mr Assange would be arrested by police if he steps outside the embassy.
On March 28, 2018, Ecuador closed off Assange’s communications with the outside world after the Australian outcast breached an agreement he had made with the South American country a year earlier.
Ecuador’s government said Assange’s behaviour online risked jeopardising the nation’s relationship with the UK.
Assange is a prolific tweeter and often criticises the British and American governments, as well as the EU.
Prior to having his communications cut, Assange had criticised Britain over its ongoing dispute with Russia over the poisoning of Sergei Skripal, a Russian spy who crossed over to work for Mi6.
In July 27, it was reported Ecuador’s president said Assange must eventually leave the embassy.
What has Assange being doing inside the embassy?
The Aussie’s high-profile visitors include Lady Gaga, Eric Cantona, Yoko Ono as well as Pamela Anderson.
Wikileaks published thousands of emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign in the final weeks of the race for the White House.
Assange defended the publication, denying links with Russia and claims that his website was trying to influence the US vote.
He also has a cat for company, which has its own dedicated Twitter account @EmbassyCat.
A previous version of this story said that Assange had sex with two men who later accused him of rape. In actual fact they were women. The story was corrected on March 10, 2016.
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Was he dating Pamela Anderson?
The 49-year-old actress was introduced to Assange by Vivienne Westwood in August 2014, and sought advice from him about her animal rights charity.
On Anderson, who has been pictured entering the building on six occasions, Assange has said: “She’s an attractive person with an attractive personality and whip smart.”
Asked if he was in love with Pam, he added: “Well I mean I like her, she’s great. I’m not gonna go into private details.”
In an interview with Australian hosts Kyle and Jackie O Pamela appeared to hint at a relationship, saying: “It was never the intention to become romantic.
“It was just to join forces to do something important. Things happen for sure.”
In a blog post published in March 2016 she said: “Julian is trying to free the world by educating it. It is a romantic struggle.
“I love him for this.”
In associate interview with Australian hosts Kyle and Jackie O Pamela looked as if it would hint at a relationship, saying: “It was ne’er the intention to become romantic.
“It was simply to affix forces to try and do one thing vital. Things happen obviously.”
In a journal post revealed in March 2016 she said: “Julian is making an attempt to free the planet by educating it. it’s a romantic struggle.