QUITO: Julian Assange’s lawyer accused Britain on Thursday of breaking international law by denying the WikiLeaks founder safe passage out of the country if he leaves Ecuador’s embassy in London.
“Britain is… violating all the norms of international law, human rights and humanitarian law,” said Baltasar Garzon, a Spanish ex-judge who leads Assange’s defense team.
He spoke in the Ecuadoran capital at an event marking the fifth anniversary since Assange sought asylum in the embassy to avoid arrest on Swedish rape charges.
The Australian, 45, has always denied the rape allegations.
Assange feared that if he gave himself up to the Swedish authorities, he would be extradited to the United States and put on trial for WikiLeaks’ publishing of hundreds of thousands of leaked secret US military documents and diplomatic cables in 2010.
Ecuador urged Britain to grant him safe passage to its territory after Swedish prosecutors last month dropped their rape probe against him.
British police said they would still arrest him if he tried to leave the embassy, though British prosecutors have not revealed whether they have received a US request to extradite him.
“It is a scheme to justify waiting until the United States formally bring charges,” Garzon said. He said his team would take the case to the UN committee on torture and other UN bodies.