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Here are key dates in Julian Assange's extradition battle after Ecuador on Thursday announced it had granted the WikiLeaks founder citizenship. Hours before Ecuador's announcement, Britain said it had rejected a request by Ecuador to grant Assange diplomatic immunity so that he could leave the embassy.

"The UK did not grant that request, nor are we in talks with Ecuador on this matter", an FCO spokesman said.

His stay in the Ecuador embassy has been reported to have cost the Metropolitan Police in London several million USA dollars in police presence outside the embassy.

The U.S. Justice Department has been investigating Assange since at least 2010, when WikiLeaks published thousands of stolen U.S. security files. He is later released on bail and calls the Swedish rape allegations a smear campaign.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been granted citizenship in Ecuador.

In March, Swedish prosecutors offer to question Assange in London.

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WikiLeaks was founded in 2006, but after the site published almost 750,000 classified, or unclassified but sensitive, military and diplomatic documents provided by Chelsea Manning - a former United States Army soldier, Assange became a target of investigation by the federal government of the United States.

The move was seen as an unsuccessful attempt to allow Assange to leave the embassy without facing arrest by British police.

Assange was also charged with sexual assault crimes in Sweden, but those charges were dropped in May 2017.

And the Convention obliges diplomats to respect the laws of their host country. You also can't blame the man for trying to get out in a way that would make it harder for him to be extradited to the U.S., particularly after US Attorney General Jeff Sessions said his arrest was "a priority" last April.

Fairfax contacted members of Assange's legal team for comment but was referred to the statement by Ecuador.

Assange had hinted Wednesday that something was afoot when he tweeted a picture of himself wearing an Ecuadoran soccer jersey, and Reuters reported that his name had been recorded in a civil registry of Ecuadoran citizens.