• Switzerland's news in English
Give us the files: lawyer for Assange in Geneva
Assange: holed up in Ecuadorian embassy for more than 1,000 days. Photo: David G. Silvers

Give us the files: lawyer for Assange in Geneva

Nina Larson/AFP · 23 Mar 2015, 22:01

Published: 23 Mar 2015 22:01 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

"We need to be provided access to the entirety of the proceedings, which for four and half years has been in the hands of the Swedish prosecution and not in the hands of the defence," said Baltasar Garzon, a former Spanish judge
who is Assange's lawyer.
Swedish prosecutors offered earlier this month to drop their previous demand that Assange come to Sweden for questioning about the 2010 allegations, marking a significant U-turn in the case that has been deadlocked for nearly
five years.
Sweden issued an arrest warrant for Assange in 2010 following allegations from two women in Sweden, one who claimed rape and another who alleged sexual assault.
The Australian former hacker, who has always vehemently denied the allegations and insisted the sexual encounters were consensual, has been ensconced in Ecuador's embassy in London since 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden.
He has long offered to be interviewed by prosecutors at the embassy or by video link.
"That offer has always been on the table," Assange said via video feed to a diplomatic conference in Geneva on how to protect whistleblowers from prosecution. 

"It has been repeated again, and again and again, and I am very pleased that the prosecution has finally accepted that offer," he said.

Assange added though that "there are details to work through" since three countries were involved and it remained unclear which jurisdiction would apply.

 One thousand days in embassy 

Story continues below…

Garzon told AFP on the sidelines of the conference in Geneva that the defence team had yet to respond to the Swedish authorities' request for an interrogation to take place at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
"Of course we will agree to the interrogation, but they have to guarantee minimum prerequisites," he said, stressing that giving the defence access to the investigation files was "simply the minimum rights of any person subjected to a judicial process."
He said it remained unclear when the interrogation might take place, but that "it should be fast".
That would be good news for Assange, 43, who pointed out that he had spent 1,006 days holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy "without charge", and another 560 days mainly under house arrest in Britain "without charge in any country".
Former French judge and European Union parliamentarian Eva Joly voiced outrage at how Assange's case had been handled.
"I think Sweden has an answer to give," she told the conference.

"Why did they let this situation take 1,000 days?" 
Assange has refused to go to Sweden for fear he would be passed on to the United States, where investigations are going on against him and WikiLeaks over the 2010 release of 500,000 secret military files on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and 250,000 diplomatic cables.
A former army intelligence analyst, Chelsea Manning, is currently serving a 35-year prison term for passing classified documents to WikiLeaks, and Assange pointed out that according to the draft charges, he himself could face 45 years behind bars.
Garzon said Assange would remain in the Ecuadorian embassy until Britain grants him safe passage to Ecuador, where he has been granted asylum.
Monday's conference stressed the importance of whistleblowers like Assange, Manning and former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden in bringing corruption, illegal and unsafe activities to light and in safeguarding privacy and freedoms.
They "are the symbols of the struggle of men sacrifying their lives to inform, to denounce, to strengthen democracy," Joly said, decrying that instead of being thanked whistleblowers often pay a high price.
The conference participants urged the United Nations Human Rights Council to appoint an expert to investigate the persecution of whistleblowers and create a fund to help them financially.

For more news from Switzerland, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Nina Larson/AFP (news@thelocal.ch)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
'Protect Swiss waterways or lose our fish': WWF
Photo: Richi Stadelmann/WWF

Eighty-five percent of fish species in Switzerland are under threat, according to a report by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

SBB pilots new annual pass – costing 12,200 francs
The 'door-to-door' pass includes use of an electric car. Photo: SBB

Swiss federal railways (SBB) is looking for 100 people willing to pilot a new annual transport pass that includes use of an electric car.

Immigration to Switzerland falls as emigration rises
File photo: The Local

Immigration in Switzerland has fallen considerably this year, according to official figures.

Wawrinka aces his way into Basel quarterfinals
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

The home favourite returns to the quarterfinals of the Swiss Indoors for the first time in five years.

Illegal immigrant dies after setting himself on fire
The victim was treated at University Hospital Zurich. Photo: University Hospital Zurich

The 45-year-old Tunisian was threatened with deportation.

Swiss government rejects call for second immigration vote
Photo: Justus Blumer/Christophe G

The Swiss government has rejected a popular initiative calling for a revote on plans to limit immigration.

Bern: companies should report salary inequality by law
File photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

The Swiss government wants to force small companies to examine their rates of pay every four years.

Husband in custody after Orbe body identified
File photo: Bas Leenders

The deceased is a 55-year-old woman who lived in the house with her husband.

Presented by MoneyPark
How to get a mortgage in Switzerland
Houses in Zürich. Photo: Pixabay.

Ready to buy? Here’s what you need to know as an expat about Swiss regulations, how to finance your purchase, and why you should use a broker.

Autumn in Switzerland: ten stunning Instagram photos
Photo: Swiss Tourism/Jan Geerk

Switzerland is beautiful in all seasons, but as these photos show, autumn is a special time in the alpine country.

Photo: Unterirdisch Ueberleben
Inside Switzerland’s largest nuclear bunker – 40 years on
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Photo: The Local
Ticino firefighters rescue cow from swimming pool
Photo: Antoni Da Campo
Vegan wins battle to be accepted by Swiss army
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Ten Swiss ski resorts named most expensive in Europe
Photo: Randy Kashka
Swiss women will ‘work for free’ for the rest of year
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Montreux throws hat in Olympic rings
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Seven things you’ll miss about Switzerland if you leave
Photo: Richard Juilliard/AFP
Man makes Geneva airport bomb threat ‘for a joke’
Photo: AFP
Solar Impulse team reveals plans for unmanned plane
File photo: Martin Abegglen
Swiss to vote on passport rules for 3rd gen foreigners
Photo: AFP
Swiss wingsuit hotspot Lauterbrunnen won’t impose ban
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Six reasons Switzerland isn’t as boring as you might think
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Report: Switzerland one of world’s best places for girls
Photo: The Local
Thief returns Swiss cow bells worth thousands
File photo: Wikimedia Commons
One in three rapists isn’t locked up: statistics
Photo: activistin.ch
Tampon-tax protest turns Zurich fountains red
Photo: AFP
Geneva police to lift ban on bearded officers
Photo: Marcel Gillieron/AFP
Suicide chef’s restaurant keeps Michelin stars
Photo: Lara de Salis
11 things the Swiss get tired of hearing abroad
Photo:  Ivo Scholz/Swiss-image.ch
Survey: expats in Switzerland have money but few friends
Photo: AFP
Swiss press criticize Bern’s 'capitulation' on immigration
Photo: Jura Trois Lacs tourism
German ex-policeman is Swiss city’s new hermit
Photo: Dmitry A. Mottl
Ticino votes to favour local workers over foreigners
jobs available