MADRID — The renowned Spanish lawyer representing Julian Assange said he was worried about the WikiLeaks founder's health due to the pressure on him as he fights efforts to extradite him from Britain.
Baltasar Garzon, known for pursuing Chile's former dictator Augusto Pinochet, met Assange, 41, on July 19 in the Ecuadorean embassy in London, where the Australian Wikileaks man has taken refuge and is seeking asylum.
"He seemed to me steady and determined to continue the fight in which he believes," Garzon told reporters in Madrid.
"But at the same time I am worried about his psychological and physical condition, because the tension he is experiencing is very great," he added.
Assange has been in the embassy since June 19 seeking political asylum in Ecuador after losing a legal battle to avoid extradition to Sweden to face questioning over rape and sexual assault claims.
He fears that if sent to Sweden, he will be re-extradited to the United States to stand trial for espionage for publishing leaked US diplomatic cables that embarrassed governments around the world.
"As the coordinator of his defence team, its seems to me that in the current circumstances there are not the minimum and indispensable conditions for a fair trial," Garzon said.
Assange founded Wikileaks, a whistle-blowing website that in 2010 released hundreds of thousands of classified diplomatic documents on its site.
Garzon said there was "a most perverse hidden intention to subject Mr. Assange to criminal proceedings in the United States, which are currently under way in secret."
Garzon was banned from the judiciary in Spain in February after standing trial accused of exceeding his authority in investigating a political corruption case.
He said Wednesday he is working for Wikileaks for free.