Julian Assange gets Spanish jurist as his aide in battle against US, extradition to Ecuador

QUITO Reuters Tue Jul 24, 2012 By Eduardo Garcia

 

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has hired Spanish jurist Baltasar Garzon as a legal adviser as he seeks political asylum in Ecuador, the Andean country’s foreign minister, Ricardo Patino, said on Tuesday.

Assange has been taking refuge in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London since June 19. The Australian anti-secrecy campaigner, who enraged Washington in 2010 when his WikiLeaks website published secret U.S. diplomatic cables, is wanted for questioning in Sweden over sex crime allegations.

Assange broke his bail terms and requested asylum in Ecuador. He denies any wrongdoing in Sweden and says he fears that if extradited there, he could be sent on to the United States, where he believes he could face criminal charges punishable by death.

The Ecuadorean government has said it will take as long as needed to make a thorough analysis of Assange’s asylum application before making a decision.

“Mr. Assange has requested the services of lawyer Baltasar Garzon to deal with his case. … Of course he has the right to hire and look for the legal advice that he needs or may need for the asylum request,” Patino told reporters in Quito.

Human rights investigator Garzon is best known for ordering the arrest of former Chilean military leader Augusto Pinochet in 1998.

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For three decades, Garzon has made a career of tackling the most complex and controversial of cases, winning notoriety as well as a clutch of powerful enemies in Spain’s ruling class. Politicians across the spectrum have been implicated or targeted in his investigations over the years.

He also stirred up controversy with an attempt to order an investigation into the killing of tens of thousands of civilians during the dictatorship of General Francisco Franco, who died in 1975.

Patino said he welcomed Garzon’s involvement in the Assange case because the Ecuadorean government had “a very good relationship” with the jurist. Garzon is part of an international panel that was set up to oversee the ongoing judicial overhaul in the OPEC-member country.

Neither the U.S. nor Swedish authorities have charged Assange with anything. Swedish prosecutors want to question him about allegations of rape and sexual assault made by two former WikiLeaks volunteers in 2010.

Assange says he had consensual sex with the women.

 

STATEMENT OF WIKILEAKS

The Spanish judge, lawyer, and international jurist, Baltasar Garzón, will lead the legal team representing Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. The jurist met with Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in the United Kingdom recently.

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the new legal strategy which will defend both WikiLeaks and Julian Assange from the existing abuse of process; expose the arbitrary, extrajudicial actions by the international financial system which target Julian Assange and WikiLeaks specifically; and show how the secret US processes against Julian Assange and WikiLeaks have compromised and contaminated other legal processes, including the extradition process against Mr Assange.

Despite been imprisoned, fiscally blockaded, and placed under house arrest for over 650 days, Mr. Assange has not been charged with an offence in any country.

Baltasar Garzón revolutionized the international justice system two decades ago by issuing an international arrest warrant for the former Head of State of Chile, Augusto Pinochet. His actions spearheaded the fight against impunity in Latin America and in the rest of the world.

The judge has expressed serious concerns regarding the lack of safeguards and transparency with which actions are being taken against Julian Assange, and the harassment he is being subjected to which has irreparable effects on his physical and mental wellbeing. The threats against his person are further aggravated by the complicit behaviour of the Swedish and U.K. governments, who are wrongfully abrogating his rights.

 

বাংলাদেশ সংক্রান্ত তারবার্তা ও প্রতিক্রিয়া পড়ুনঃ

উইকিলিকস: নথির উৎস নিয়ে সন্দিহান সৈয়দ আশরাফ – ১৭ সেপ্টেম্বর ২০১১

প্রসঙ্গ উইকিলিকসঃ ফখরুলের (বিএনপির) মাথা ঘুরে গেছে!!! – ১৪ সেপ্টেম্বর ২০১১

সাহারার ব্যর্থতায় দায়িত্ব পান ফারুক – ৫ সেপ্টেম্বর ২০১১

‘দুর্নীতিবাজ ছেলেকে রক্ষা খালেদার রাজনৈতিক ব্যর্থতা’ – ৬ সেপ্টেম্বর ২০১১

ইউনূসের জন্য যুক্তরাষ্ট্রের যত দেন-দরবার – ৩ সেপ্টেম্বর ২০১১

প্রথম আলো মার্কিনপন্থী’ – ৫ সেপ্টেম্বর ২০১১

সাকার আশঙ্কাই সত্যি – ৫ সেপ্টেম্বর ২০১১

All English Cables: WIKILEAKS EXPOSÉ: Bangladesh by bdnews24.com