Julian Assange addresses the media

For the first time in two months, a political prisoner turned refugee speaks:

He spoke out in defence of Ecuador, Bradley Manning, and Pussy Riot.

And here’s something truly excellent: Look who his defence attorney is!

Julian Assange’s lawyer, Baltasar Garzón, has appeared before the press gathered outside the embassy of Ecuador in London, where he assured that he would take all legal measures to defend his client, and has asked the Swedish judiciary for guarantees that it will not extradite the Australian to the United States.

“Assange never fled to avoid charges in Sweden,” Garzón said, in reference to the sexual assaults Assange stands accused of in that Nordic country. “He only asked for guarantees that were not granted.”

Garzón firmly denied that there were any negotiations on the part of the defence to deliver Assange to Sweden from London. “There’s no negotiation. At least as far as I know, because it’s not our job, we are not empowered to negotiate.”

The attorney also cut short speculations that the founder of Wikileaks would come out into the street, and assured that he would go no further than the balcony, where two microphones had been installed for his speech. If Assange set foot even one centimetre from the perimeter of the building, he would be automatically arrested by the British police.

The Spanish ex-judge, now a defence attorney for the ex-hacker, informed the media that his client was “in good spirits”, and was grateful to “the people of Ecuador, and, in particular, their president Rafael Correa” for the concession of diplomatic asylum, granted last Thursday. Garzón insists that his client defends freedom and human rights and that he is the victim of a political persecution.

Translation mine.

Baltasar Garzón, for those who don’t know or haven’t been following affairs in Chile, is the Spanish magistrate who issued an arrest warrant for Augusto Pinochet back in 1998 for human rights violations. Pinochet managed to stall long enough to die without ever appearing before the Spanish courts, but the point was made: impunity was a thing of the past. He died under house arrest. According to his bio, Garzón has been suspended from the bench since 2010, thanks to the vicious machinations of a far-right group with ties to the fascist regime of Francisco Franco. Apparently they didn’t want him probing too deep into the crimes of their late and largely unlamented generalissimo. They call themselves Manos Limpias — Clean Hands. Surely the dirtiest joke of all time, at least in Spain.

But dirty tricks against him notwithstanding, Baltasar Garzón is still a practicing attorney, and a great one. I don’t think Julian Assange can ask for better. And combined with the strong pull of public opinion on his behalf (even in the US, supporters outnumber detractors something like three to one!), this is looking better for Julian Assange all the time…and worse for those trying to put him in kangaroo court for espionage.

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