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News > United Kingdom

Julian Assange is Politically Persecuted: Baltasar Garzon

  • Demonstration in support of Julian Assange in London, UK, Feb 20, 2024.

    Demonstration in support of Julian Assange in London, UK, Feb 20, 2024. | Photo: X/ @ThomasScripps

Published 21 February 2024 (17 hours 39 minutes ago)
Opinion

Washington wants to teach the world a lesson by punishing Assange, said the Spanish jurist.

On Wednesday, Spanish jurist Baltasar Garzon, who is Julian Assange's lawyer, denounced that the WikiLeaks founder is being killed for exercising freedom of the press.

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"What we are seeing is a semblance of legality in his case. We have not been able to start with the defense. They have not allowed us," Garzon said, noting that Assange is a political target.

This week, the High Court of London is considering the extradition request made by the United States, which Assange's defense opposes, arguing that he will not receive a fair trial.

"Great Britain has hardly cooperated to avoid confronting the U.S. This is a political persecution... It is a lesson that the United States wants to teach the world," said Garzon, who recalled that many Latin American heads of state have supported Assange's cause, while European authorities avoid taking a stance.

"In no case will Assange have a fair trial if he is handed over to the U.S. because 90 percent of the citizens of Virginia who would make up the jury work for American intelligence. So, what can be expected?" Garzon stated.

In 2010, WikiLeaks leaked information about human rights violations committed by the United States during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. In response to an accusation of alleged sexual misconduct in Sweden, Assange surrendered to Scotland Yard and was placed in pretrial detention. In 2011, however, a British judge approved his extradition to Sweden.

In June 2012, Assange took refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he remained until the administration of President Lenin Moreno withdrew his political asylum in 2019 and handed him over to British authorities.

In May 2019, he was sentenced to 50 weeks in prison for violating bail conditions, and the extradition case began in the United Kingdom. Previously, the U.S. government filed 18 charges against him for espionage and computer intrusion before a grand jury in Virginia.

Since October 2019, British authorities have kept Assange in prison due to the extradition trial to the United States, where he could face up to 175 years in prison.

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