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Who is Julian Assange, why does Pamela Anderson visit him in the Ecuadorian embassy and what is Wikileaks?

As Swedish prosecutors begin to quiz Assange over rape allegations, we reveal all there is to know about the political refugee and his friendship with the Baywatch star

WIKILEAKS founder Julian Assange and former Baywatch star Pamela Anderson have formed a budding relationship during the Aussie’s time holed up in London’s Ecuadorian embassy.

Pam has been photographed entering the building to meet with Assange, who is wanted in Sweden over rape allegations – she even braved Storm Doris to go and see him.

Julian Assange has been living in the embassy for four years after he was granted political asylum by Ecuador.
PA:Press Association
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Julian Assange has been living in the embassy for four years after he was granted asylum by Ecuador
Pamela Anderson seen at the Ecuadorian Embassy taking vegan cheeseburgers to Julian Assange
Getty Images
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Pamela Anderson seen at the Ecuadorian Embassy taking vegan cheeseburgers to Julian Assange

The creator of the secret-spilling website has been holed up in the red-brick building behind Harrods luxury department store for more than four years.

And supporting him has been Anderson, who has taken him vegan burgers in the past.

Pamela, 49, was introduced to Assange by Vivienne Westwood in August 2014, and sought advice from him about her animal rights charity.

But who is Assange and why is he wanted by Sweden?

 Julian Assange
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Assange grew up in Queensland, Australia

Who is Julian Assange?

The 45-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 a self-confessed 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.

Julian Assange has been holed up since 2012
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Julian Assange founded Wikileaks in 2006 and it has exposed government and military secrets

What is Wikileaks?

Wikileaks was set up in 2006 to allow whistleblowers to release anonymous documents.

The site – and Assange – became household names when Chelsea Manning leaked information about the US military.

One of the leaks was a video called Collateral Murder, which showed unarmed Iraqis being gunned down by American helicopters.

Chelsea Manning leaked a video called Collateral Murder which showed unarmed Iraqis being gunned down
AP:Associated Press
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Chelsea Manning leaked a video called Collateral Murder which showed unarmed Iraqis being gunned down by American troops

Assange has since been involved in the publication of material exposing toxic waste dumping on the ivory coast, Scientology manuals and Guantanamo Bay detention camp procedures.

At one point there were five major films about Wikileaks in development with one, The Fifth Estate starring Benedict Cumberbatch, released in 2013.

Most recently, Wikileaks claimed UK government helped CIA hack Samsung Smart TVs and turn them into “microphones”.

It has been reported that tv viewers were stalked by a virus in their set called the Weeping Angel.

Software was also allegedly developed by the CIA to hack into people’s smartphones, computers and cars.

Wikileaks published 8,761 secret CIA documents, including files from inside its Center for Cyber Intelligence.

Wikileaks claimed the papers — dubbed “Vault 7” — expose how a sinister TV surveillance program was developed by UK and US spy chiefs.

Why is Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian Embassy?

Assange was in Sweden in August 2010 to speak at a conference when he met two men and had sex with them.

They later accused him of rape and molestation and Assange was questioned but never charged over the claims.

On November 20 after he had left the country, Interpol issued a Red Notice for Assange’s arrest.

 Julian Assange addresses media and supporters from the balcony of Ecuador's embassy in February this year
Getty Images
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Julian Assange addresses media and supporters from the balcony of Ecuador’s embassy in February 2016

He gave himself up a week later and appeared before a judge in Westminster before being released on bail after his supporters paid £240,000 in cash and sureties.

Legal arguments continued until June 2012, when Swedish prosecutors called for him to be extradited – something his lawyers were against 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.

He was granted asylum in August that year but if he sets foot outside the building, Britain will deport him to Sweden.

Pamela Anderson opens up about 'heroic' and 'important' Julian Assange amid romance rumours

Why is Pamela Anderson visiting him at the embassy?

Pamela, 49, was introduced to Assange by Vivienne Westwood in August 2014, and sought advice from him about her animal rights charity.

She has since been pictured entering the building on six occasions.

On Anderson, Assange has said: "She’s an attractive person with an attractive personality and whip smart…. She’s no idiot at all, she psychologically very savvy."

The visits have sparked rumours of a relationship between the pair, speculation Assange did not flatly deny.

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."

However in an interview with Australian hosts Kyle and Jackie O Pamela pretty much confirmed their relationship saying;

“It was never the intention to become romantic. It was just to join forces to do something important.

“Things happen for sure.”

Will Assange actually be deported to the US from Sweden?

Assange hasn't been charged with anything but there is still an arrest warrant relating to the 2010 allegations made against him.

Sweden has an extradition treaty with the US but it rejects the move on the basis of a "political offence".

His supporters fear Assange could be taken by the CIA and shipped to the US regardless of the treaty.

Julian Assange has been holed up for three years
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Julian Assange has been holed up for four years

There are no charges against him in the US, although he fears he could be put on trial for espionage.

But the Justice Department told the Washington Post in 2013 that there was no way it could prosecute him.

How long can Assange stay in the Ecuadorian embassy?

The most serious of the allegations - that of rape - will not expire until 2020.

The Ecuadorian authorities have stated that he can remain in the embassy as long as he wishes.

What is happening with Julian Assange now?

Legal deadlock may be broken after Swedish prosecutor Ingrid Isgren visited the embassy.

A Swedish police inspector will also attend and investigators plan to take a DNA sample from Assange, subject to his agreement.

 Swedish Chief prosecutor Ingrid Isgren (C) arrives at the Ecuadorian Embassy as WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is set to be quizzed over rape claims
EPA
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Swedish Chief prosecutor Ingrid Isgren arrives at the Ecuadorian Embassy to quiz WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange over rape claims

It will be the first time Assange has been interviewed over the matter since initial questioning by Swedish police at the time of the allegation.

What does Assange do inside the embassy?

The Aussie has been visited by Lady Gaga, Eric Cantona and Yoko Ono.

This is just one of many visits Pamela has made to Assange over the past few months.

Assange had to have his internet access cut off  to stop him interfering in the US presidential election.

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 which saw Trump, a republican, soar to victory.

He also has a cat for company, which has its own dedicated Twitter account @EmbassyCat.

Wikileaks founder accuses Clinton and ISIS of being funded by same groups

 

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