Ecuador Hands US Assange’s Legal Defence Documents

Wikileaks

The material includes two of Assange’s manuscripts, as well as his legal papers, medical records and electronic equipment.

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US authorities have ordered Ecuadorian officials to hand over the entire legal defence against Julian Assange.

The documents have been compiled during the time he was living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, according to WikiLeaks.

Editor-in-chief at WikiLeaks, Kristinn Hrafnsson, said: “On Monday, Ecuador will perform a puppet show at the embassy of Ecuador in London for their masters in Washington, just in time to expand their extradition case before the UK deadline on 14 June.

“The Trump administration is inducing its allies to behave like it’s the Wild West.”

Assange’s lawyers were reportedly not authorised to be present during what WikiLeaks have called the “illegal seizure of his property”.

Hrafnsson said: “The material includes two of his manuscripts, as well as his legal papers, medical records and electronic equipment. The seizure of his belongings violates laws that protect medical and legal confidentiality and press protections.”

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In addition, Ecuador officials declined a request by UN special rapporteur on privacy, who requested permission to supervise Ecuador’s seizure of Assange’s property.

WikiLeaks have also stated that US authorities had previously asked Ecuador to share audio-visual material and additional documents, which had reportedly been collected during an internal spying operation against Assange.

International legal coordinator for the defence of Assange and WikiLeaks, Baltasar Garzón, said: “It is extremely worrying that Ecuador has proceeded with the search and seizure of property, documents, information and other material belonging to the defence of Julian Assange, which Ecuador arbitrarily confiscated, so that these can be handed over to the agent of political persecution against him, the United States.

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“It is an unprecedented attack on the rights of the defence, freedom of expression and access to information exposing massive human rights abuses and corruption. We call on international protection institutions to intervene to put a stop to this persecution.”

Senior director of cybersecurity at Moss Adams, Nathan Wenzler, said: “If arguing that because Assange is an EU resident and, therefore, subject to the protections of GDPR, Article 23 makes a pretty strong case that those protections become restricted if revealing that data was a matter of national defence or if some other form of legal matter, either criminal or civil, is involved.

“While I’m not a lawyer, it seems likely that all nations involved would have a good chance of demonstrating some sort of legal action involved here and thus, make this action a non-event under the provisions of GDPR.

“Morally, there’s a whole other argument here that could – and should, in my opinion – be had. However, I’m not sure there’s much that can or will be done under GDPR in this case.”



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