Spanish ‘superjudge’ snubs fleeing ‘IT spy’

Spain's renowned former human rights 'superjudge' Baltasar Garzón announced on Wednesday that his firm has declined to represent US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden.

Spanish 'superjudge' snubs fleeing 'IT spy'
Garzón said his firm would continue to represent Julian Assange and Wikileaks. Photo: PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP

Garzón, who famously tried to extradite Chile's former dictator Augusto Pinochet from Britain in 1998, is legal director of anti-secrecy group Wikileaks, which helped organize Snowden's exit from Hong Kong over the weekend.

But Garzón's firm, ILOCAD, has decided not to take on the Snowden case, the lawyer said in a statement, without giving an explanation.

"This serves to state that the law firm ILOCAD has decided not to represent Mr. Snowden, whose whereabouts are unknown," said Garzón, who is the law firm's director.

Garzón said his firm would continue to represent Wikileaks chief Julian Assange "as senior legal counsel in the defence of the fundamental right to freedom of information and expression".

Garzón said he was "satisfied" with a draft resolution by the legal affairs and human rights committee of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly that said people who disclose criminal acts in the public interest should be protected from retaliation and persecution from those who commit them.

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Wikileaks slams Google ‘attack on journalism’

A controversial Spanish former magistrate has tackled Google over its handing of data from Wikileaks, the secrets-spilling website, to the FBI.

Baltasar Garzón slammed Google's action as "illegal and unacceptable" Photo:Rodrigo Buendia/AFP

Wikileaks is demanding answers from Google after it emerged that the internet search giant handed over personal email data of three of its journalists to the FBI without informing the whistleblowing website.

Baltasar Garzón, the crusading Spanish lawyer who heads the legal team working for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, accused Google Inc. of providing data from the accounts of Wikileaks journalists to the U.S law enforcement agency.

He told a news conference in Geneva on Monday that the three staff members had only been informed in December that the contents of the accounts had been handed over to federal investigators two and a half years ago.

The former judge, who once attempted to extradite General Pinochet from Britain to stand trial for abuse of power and who launched a failed bid to investigate the Franco-era crimes in Spain, said the constitutional rights of those Wikileaks journalists had been breached.

Google provided the data in response to a warrant by the FBI. "This action is illegal and unacceptable," Garzón said adding that it was an "attack on journalism and journalists, especially those working on security issues".

Wikileaks is arguing that the warrant could have been challenged had the Wikileaks employees been informed of the request at the time.

Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks Photo: John Sitwell/Pool/AFP

Garzón also took the opportunity to slam the treatment of Wikileaks founder Assange, who has been holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012, after losing an appeal against extradition to Sweden to face rape allegations.

"It is outrageous that in the 21st century fundamental rights such as the right to political asylum are not being observed," said Garzón, adding that Assange cannot even step outside for fear of being arrested.