Julian Assange has recruited famed Spanish jurist Baltasar Garzon as he steps up efforts to seek political asylum in South America.
Assange is currently holed up at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
The WikiLeaks founder entered the embassy on June 19 after all attempts to fight extradition to Sweden – where Assange faces charges of sexual assault – failed.
Assange, who denies the accusations, is concerned that extradition to Sweden could ultimately lead to his eventual transfer and detention in the United States.
“Mr. Assange has requested the services of lawyer Baltasar Garzon to deal with his case,” Ecuadorian foreign minister Ricardo Patino told Reuters. ”Of course he has the right to hire and look for the legal advice that he needs or may need for the asylum request.”
Garzon – a human rights investigator – is perhaps best known for ordering the arrest of former Chilean military dictator Augusto Pinochet in 1998. Garzon also attempted to investigate the killing of tens of thousands of civilians during the reign of General Francisco Franco, who died in 1975.
The international jurist recently met with the Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where the two discussed a “new legal strategy.” Garzon also expressed “serious concerns” about “the lack of safeguards and transparency” with which actions are being taken against Assange.
In other WikiLeaks related news, Bourne Legacy actor Jeremy Renner is reportedly in talks with DreamWorks about playing Julian Assange in a WikiLeaks film – which could be directed by “Twilight” helmer Bill Condon.
A number of other studios are apparently in the midst of prepping WikiLeaks films, including Universal and HBO.