Assange hires Spanish lawyer Baltasar Garzón

Assange hires Spanish lawyer Baltasar Garzón
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has hired Spanish celebrity jurist Baltasar Garzón to assist his bid to seek asylum in Ecuador and avoid extradition to Sweden to face rape charges.

“Mr. Assange has requested the services of lawyer Baltasar Garzón to deal with his case,” Ecuadorian foreign minister Ricardo Patino told reporters in Quito on Tuesday according to a Reuters report.

Assange has been housed in the Ecuadorian embassy in London after walking in off the street and seeking political asylum on June 19th in a bid to avoid extradition to Sweden to face rape charges.

The WikiLeaks founder has been fighting extradition since a Swedish prosecutor issued a European arrest warrant in November 2010. He remained on bail until he broke bail conditions with his asylum bid.

Baltasar Garzón is a renowned human rights lawyer who has presided over a number of trials against alleged members of the Basque terror group ETA.

He is perhaps best known for issuing an international warrant for the arrest of former Chilean military leader Augusto Pinochet in 1998.

The former judge was however disqualified from judicial activity for 11 years in February 2012 after having been found guilty of using his authority as a judge to intentionally subvert the course of justice.

He has stated that he intends to appeal his expulsion from the judiciary to the Constitutional Court of Spain.

Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa has meanwhile stated that his government would take its time to consider Julian Assange’s asylum request and vowed not to yield to any pressure from Britain, Sweden or the United States.

Peter Vinthagen Simpson

Follow Peter on Twitter here.

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