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02:47

Germany: 'Not a single reason' to reopen rape case against Assange - lawyer

Germany, Berlin
May 14, 2019 at 18:55 GMT +00:00 · Published

The lawyer of WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange, Baltasar Garzon, said Sweden has "not a single reason" to reopen a rape case against Assange, during a conference held at the Cervantes Institute in Berlin on Tuesday.

"We’ve always thought that the cause behind the Swedish investigation was instrumental," said lawyer leading Assange’s defence Baltasar Garzon.

"There's not a single reason why they need to reopen the case. Why didn’t they reopen it four, five, ten months ago? The only thing that's changed now is that Assange is in jail, but the facts are the same," he added.

Commenting on the conditions in which Assange is being held, Garzon said that he is "alone in a cell and in extreme conditions of care," adding that he can’t even get a proper meeting with his lawyers.

On Monday, Sweden's state prosecutor Eva-Marie Persson announced the decision to reopen a preliminary investigation into rape allegations against Assange.

Prosecutors dropped the investigation in 2017, because they were unable to proceed while Assange remained living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

The WikiLeaks co-founder also faced an investigation for three other sex-related allegations, which were dropped in 2015 due to passing the statute of limitations. Assange denies all the allegations.

On April 11, a lawyer for one of the women involved in the rape case asked for the investigation to be resumed.

After spending seven years in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, Assange was arrested and sentenced to 50 weeks in jail for breaking bail. He is being held at a high-security prison in the UK.

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The lawyer of WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange, Baltasar Garzon, said Sweden has "not a single reason" to reopen a rape case against Assange, during a conference held at the Cervantes Institute in Berlin on Tuesday.

"We’ve always thought that the cause behind the Swedish investigation was instrumental," said lawyer leading Assange’s defence Baltasar Garzon.

"There's not a single reason why they need to reopen the case. Why didn’t they reopen it four, five, ten months ago? The only thing that's changed now is that Assange is in jail, but the facts are the same," he added.

Commenting on the conditions in which Assange is being held, Garzon said that he is "alone in a cell and in extreme conditions of care," adding that he can’t even get a proper meeting with his lawyers.

On Monday, Sweden's state prosecutor Eva-Marie Persson announced the decision to reopen a preliminary investigation into rape allegations against Assange.

Prosecutors dropped the investigation in 2017, because they were unable to proceed while Assange remained living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

The WikiLeaks co-founder also faced an investigation for three other sex-related allegations, which were dropped in 2015 due to passing the statute of limitations. Assange denies all the allegations.

On April 11, a lawyer for one of the women involved in the rape case asked for the investigation to be resumed.

After spending seven years in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, Assange was arrested and sentenced to 50 weeks in jail for breaking bail. He is being held at a high-security prison in the UK.

M/S Lawyers Baltasar Garzon and Wolfgang Kaleck getting on stage, Berlin

W/S Lawyers Baltasar Garzon and Wolfgang Kaleck on stage

W/S Conference at Cervantes Institute in Berlin

SOT, Baltasar Garzon, head of Julian Assange legal team (Spanish): "We’ve always thought that the cause behind the Swedish investigation was instrumental."

C/U Garzon's hands *CUTAWAY*

SOT, Baltasar Garzon, head of Julian Assange legal team (Spanish): "If we now have to answer to this new reopening, we start with the fact that there's not a single reason why they need to reopen the case. Why didn’t they reopen it four, five, ten months ago? The only thing that's changed now is that Assange is in jail, but the facts are the same. They must explain why they closed it and why they are now reopening it, but we are confident. We know that if there is a judgement, it is basic to pronounce absolution."

C/U Photographer *CUTAWAY*

SOT, Baltasar Garzon, head of Julian Assange legal team (Spanish): "[Julian Assange] is alone in a cell and in extreme conditions of care. He can barely have visitors. I think he can have four hours per month that he can meet his lawyers. We haven't been able -including me, as chief coordinator of his defence- to access the prison either. We are soliciting permits. It is a high-security prison applied to a civil person, who is not dangerous, and has proved it. He has never tried to escape or cheat."

W/S People attending the event

C/U Journalist taking notes

SOT, Baltasar Garzon, head of Julian Assange legal team (Spanish): "The most serious thing is that Ecuador has accepted a request to cooperate and deliver Julian's all personal items to the United States. The protecting country hands to the persecuting country anything that could, in principle, damage him. It is the most absolute contradiction of what the right to asylum should be."

M/S Lawyers on stage

W/S Conference

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