Baltasar Garzon, the Spanish judge recently disbarred from his role as an investigating magistrate, will head the legal team representing WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, the website announced yesterday.
Assange, who is currently staying at the Ecuadoran embassy in London, has requested political asylum in the Latin American country, following failed attempts to avoid his extradition to face questions over rape and sexual assault claims in Sweden.
Garzon, well known for issuing an international arrest warrant against former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, has met met with Assange to discuss legal strategy, according to a statement approved by both men.
The statement also said that the aim is to “defend both WikiLeaks and Julian Assange from the existing abuse of process and expose the arbitrary, extrajudicial actions by the international financial system” against Assange and the Wikileaks website.
Garzon was disbarred in February after it came to light that he had wire-tapped conversations between defence lawyers and their clients.
The former jurist says he intends to appeal to the Constitutional Court of Spain against his expulsion which he says is politically motivated. In 2008, he declared Spain’s Franco regime to have committed crimes against humanity and ordered the exhumation of 19 unmarked graves. This didn’t go down well with some officials.