Julia Assange is just 24 hours away from facing charges in the United States should U.S. authorities finally decide to throw the book on him, the Spanish defender of the WikiLeaks founder said on Wednesday.
"(While) it's true that there are no formal charges against Julian Assange but from my experience charges can be laid in just 24 hours," lawyer Baltasar Garzon was reported by Agence France Presse (AFP) as saying.
A U.S. grand jury probe is now underway that would easily allow America to establish a case against the Australian national, Mr Garzon claimed.
In 2010, Mr Assange earned the ire of Washington when his anti-secrecy Web site published confidential diplomatic cables, many of which embarrassed America to its partner nations, dispatched by U.S. diplomats.
His observations, Mr Garzon said, were based on records of the court proceedings against U.S. Army officer Bradley Manning, tagged as the source of the information that WikiLeaks unleashed online from 2010 through 2011.
Speaking at a news briefing held in Madrid, Spain, the famed Mr Garzon insisted that "the procedure (against Mr Assange) exists."
And he vowed that would confirm this matter to the U.S. Justice Department, which has consistently denied that its prosecutors were building a case against the celebrity former hacker.
"I can already tell you that they will not respond," Mr Garzon said.
His client remains "trapped" at Ecuador's embassy in London while the British and Ecuadorian foreign ministry officials discussed a likely compromise that would end the two nations' diplomatic standoff.
Mr Assange has won an asylum protection from Quito in late August but UK authorities would not give him safe passage for a flight to Ecuador, insisting that London has legal obligation to send the Aussie whistleblower to Sweden.
The former hacker, according to Mr Garzon, has no issues against flying to Sweden to clear out investigation on alleged rape assaults he committed but was convinced that once there, U.S. authorities would ask for his extradition to face charges of espionage and sedition in America.
Mr Assange faces life imprisonment or even the death penalty if convicted of any of the charges.
Ecuador is seeking guarantees from Sweden and Britain that Mr Assange will not be deported to the United States but if the ongoing talks on the matter should collapse, Mr Garzon said his last recourse is to bring the case of his client before the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
"If the conflict continues the only alternative would be to find a solution through the ICJ," he declared.
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