Ecuador Suspends Decision On WikiLeaks Founder Assange Until After Olympics

QUITO, July 26 (BERNAMA-NNN-MERCOPRESS) — Ecuador’s Foreign minister Ricardo Patino said there will be no decision until after the London Summer Olympics on the political exile request of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Patino told reporters it would be imprudent to announce a decision during the London Games, which begin Friday and end Aug. 12.

Assange sought refuge in Ecuador’s London embassy on June 19 to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning about allegations of sexual misconduct.

Assange contends the sexual misconduct claims are trumped up and that he’s being persecuted politically for publishing secretive US documents including diplomatic cables.

Earlier in the week it was announced that Spanish ex Judge Baltasar Garzon will head the defence of Assange, according to Spain’s newspaper “El Pais.” The decision was agreed after Garzon met with Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. The encounter was held in order to define a “strong judicial strategy to defend WikiLeaks and its founder as well” the organisation stated.

According to WikiLeaks, the Judge showed his concern over “the severe lack of guarantees” against Assange.

The judicial investigation into Assange’s activities was “a kind of persecution” for his role as founder of WikiLeaks and for revealing political wrongdoing through the whistle-blowing website, Garzon said.

The allegations and investigations against Assange in countries like Sweden were “inconsistent”, and there was “something else” behind them, the lawyer said.

“We intend to demonstrate that (Assange) is not getting the right to a fair defence, presumption of innocence and a trial with all the guarantees,” Garzon said.

Garzon said he had been appointed to co-ordinate Assange’s legal representation in countries where legal action or investigations were under way, listing Britain, the United States, Sweden, Ecuador and Australia.

Garzon gained international attention in 1998 when he issued an arrest warrant for former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet for crimes against Spanish citizens.

He formerly served as a judge with Spain’s central criminal court, the Audiencia Nacional, where he launched investigations into alleged human rights violations in Latin America and elsewhere.

The Spanish Supreme Court disbarred Garzon in February for wiretapping jailed suspects and their lawyers in a corruption case.

Supporters said the real reason for ousting him from the judiciary was his attempt to investigate the crimes of late dictator Francisco Franco, who ruled Spain from 1939-75.

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