London: A controversial Spanish human rights lawyer Baltasar Garzón will head the defence of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is fighting to avoid extradition from Britain to Sweden, according to a report.
Assange, who founded the whistle blowing website, is wanted in Sweden for questioning over rape and sexual assault allegations.
Garzón, who was disbarred as a judge in Spain in February, said he would lend Assange the weight of his knowledge of international human rights and extradition law in a case that he denounced as ‘arbitrary and baseless’.
According to the Guardian, he travelled to London to meet Assange, who has been taking refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy since last month.
Garzón was the investigating magistrate when the former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet was arrested in London on an extradition warrant to face genocide charges in Spain.
Garzón believes that Assange was the victim of obscure international political manoeuvring.
“There is clear political intentionality behind this affair, which explains his current situation,” the paper quoted Garzón, as saying.
“Obviously this is not just about his future but his physical and psychological stability and It is only right that Assange should be protected by the same rights as those of any other citizen,” he added.
According to the paper, a statement posted on the ‘Support Julian Assange’ website in the names of both Garzón and Assange confirmed the news.
“The Spanish judge, lawyer, and international jurist, Baltasar Garzón, will lead the legal team representing Julian Assange and WikiLeaks,” it said.