The former Spanish High Court judge, Baltasar Garzón, has offered to join the legal advisory team of cyberespionage whistleblower Edward Snowden, according to a statement by WikiLeaks.
Garzón, who is now the legal director of WikiLeaks and lawyer for the organization’s controversial leader, Julian Assange, said in the statement posted on the web-based anti-secrecy group's site that: “The WikiLeaks legal team and I are interested in preserving Mr Snowden’s rights and protecting him as a person. What is being done to Mr Snowden and to Mr Julian Assange — for making or facilitating disclosures in the public interest — is an assault against the people.”
The statement was released on Sunday in the light of the news that Snowden, who has become a cause célèbre since revealing the nature of the US administration’s Prism cyberespionage program, had taken a Moscow-bound plane out of Hong Kong, where the US citizen had been staying. It later emerged that Snowden had asked Ecuador for asylum.
Garzón began working for WikiLeaks last July once Assange had moved into the Ecuadorian Embassy in London after the South American nation had granted him diplomatic asylum. Assange is wanted in Sweden for questioning over sexual assault accusations, but he and his supporters fear that he could end up being extradited to the United States to face charges relating to the revelation of US military and diplomatic secrets.
Garzón has recently made an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights against his 11-year suspension from duties as a judge in Spain after he was found guilty of misconduct in ordering the tapping of suspects’ telephone conversations in the Gürtel political corruption case.