Garzón joins Assange defense team

July 24, 2012

Judge Baltasar Garzón. Photo by Richard Bermack.

Judge Baltasar Garzón, winner of the 2011 ALBA/Puffin Award for Human Rights Activism, will be joining the defense team of Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks who, faced with extradition to Sweden, has sought refuge in the London embassy of Ecuador. Garzón will be working alongside Michael Ratner, of the Center for Constitutional Rights and author of Hell No: Your Right to Dissent Twenty-First Century America, who represents Assange in the United States. The news was brought by the Guardian and El País, based on a Wikileaks press release earlier today:

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 having been imprisoned, fiscally blockaded, and placed under house arrest for over 650 days, Mr. Assange has not been charged with an offense 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 whith 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.

More Volunteer coverage of Garzón and Wikileaks here.