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Who is Julian Assange, the polarizing founder of the secret-spilling website WikiLeaks?

Julian Assange, the controversial founder of WikiLeaks, has captured the world’s attention for his role in exposing government secrets and sparking debates on state secrecy and freedom of the press. From his humble beginnings as a teenage hacker in Australia to his self-imposed exile in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, Assange’s life is a complex web of intrigue and controversy.

Born in Townsville, Australia, Assange had a tumultuous upbringing attending dozens of schools before becoming an accomplished hacker known for breaking into computer networks in North America and Europe. In 2006, he founded WikiLeaks, a non-profit organization aimed at publishing classified documents to expose injustice and hold governments accountable.

Assange gained international fame in 2010 when WikiLeaks released a trove of documents detailing US military wrongdoing in Iraq and Afghanistan, causing a stir among supporters who saw him as a champion of transparency and detractors who accused him of endangering lives by disclosing sensitive information.

The release of classified documents led to a series of legal battles for Assange, including allegations of rape and molestation in Sweden, which he vehemently denied. After seeking asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy to avoid extradition, Assange spent seven years in self-exile before his arrest by British authorities in 2019.

Despite facing numerous legal challenges and spending years in prison, Assange continued to fight extradition to the US, where he was accused of conspiring with US Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to release classified information. In 2022, Assange married his partner, Stella Moris, in jail, where they have two sons.

As Assange’s extradition case continues to unfold in the British courts, the polarizing figure remains a symbol of defiance against government secrecy and a lightning rod for debates on journalism and national security. His story is far from over, as the world watches to see what the future holds for the man who dared to challenge the powers that be.

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