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TRANSCRIPT

Oct 29, 2018

Julian Aassange: Thank you, Judge Martinez, for conducting this hearing and for the State of Ecuador
for spending the effort to uphold the rule of law in this matter. I find this experience somewhat difficult
and I hope you will forgive me not just for my terrible Spanish but for the difficulties that I have.

I have been in this embassy without sunlight for six years and essentially isolated from most people for
seven months and, including electronic communication, the telephone etc, from my young children.
That’s been a difficult experience and it has also interfered with my ability to work, to make a living,
and with my deeply held principles that I have fought for all my life, which is to uphold the right of
freedom of expression, the right for people to know, the right of the freedom of the press and the right
for everyone to participate in their society and the broader society.

I want to go back for a moment so people can understand how this process came to be. Unfortunately,
due to my isolation, I have not been able to participate in the debates occurring around me and that has
resulted in a climate of libels and fake news that might be expected for someone who has been in the
business of exposing very large and very powerful corrupt organisations or organisations that abuse
human rights.

It is a sadness to me to see information denigrating to my character not only spread by the various
organisations that I have exposed but, in this hearing, by some members of the Ecuadorian
Government. Although I want to say that I was very proud to become an Ecuadorian citizen. I think
Ecuador is an amazing State, with amazing people who have supported me in government, even in the
current government, in the population and the press, and so I find it additionally saddening to…

[interruption in Spanish]

JA: Ok. I find it saddening to see that in this case there’s some attempt to, well, to not engage in the
legal process but rather to engage in a political process, in an attempt to denigrate my character to make
headlines, to not treat this process with the serious respect that it deserves.

I’ve been involved in freedom of expression and publishing in Australia for many, many years – my
books are translated into 25 languages. I’ve written a book all about US diplomacy. I’ve probably read
more cables, diplomatic cables, than any single person on Earth – and, as is often the case, the
messenger is attacked. Journalists are persecuted, we know that. Publisherss are persecuted.

I looked to Ecuador for protection after publishing information about the US crimes in Iraq and
Afghanistan, the most significant revelation ever about those two wars, and the US diplomatic cables.
My alleged source, Chelsea Manning, a young intelligence officer, was seized, brutally treated in an
American prison, and ultimately sentenced to 35 years. A worldwide investigation by US allies started
and even my own country Australia, in my view improperly, participated in that investigation. There
was no allegation that I had done anything other than what a journalist does, just that I have been a
rather good one and effective one.

The emails of our journalists were seized, many assassination threats were made, a great deal of illegal
spying was conducted and, in that context, I asked the Ecuadorian Government for asylum. It was
granted because neither the UK nor Sweden would guarantee that I would be not extradited to the
United States. The Swedish investigation, in which I was never charged, was dropped – completely
dropped, I was never charged at any time – but this issue of a guarantee against my extradition to the
United States continues.

On 5 February 2016 the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention – the highest body in the world
that considers whether people have been illegally prevented from movement or detained in one way or
another – formally found, in an adversarial process, against the United Kingdom, that it was abusing
my rights, Ecuador’s rights and international law in preventing me from leaving the country.

I didn’t apply for asylum at this embassy to stay in this embassy. I applied for this asylum to go and to
live safely in Ecuador. The UK, however, has admitted to spending, even halfway through this process,
more than 20 million dollars –13.6 million pounds – on besieging this embassy. Spying on me, spying
on my visitors, and so on. It became very embarrassing and so, once those budget figures were
released, it classified the budget to deny journalists the understanding of what was going on.

I mention this so people can understand the security threats that operate against me here. There have
been attempts by people to get into this embassy through the windows at night. It appears that there
may have even been an attempt last night, at 4.30am. I am an assassination risk. It is not a joke. It is a
serious business.

On 25 November 2016 the UK appealed the decision of the United Nations and it lost again. So, as far
as the UN system is concerned, this is settled law. I am arbitrarily detained. The UN also found that I
am subject to a violation of ICCPR Article 7, cruel inhumane and degrading treatment, as a result of
this situation, and that was before the various constraints that have occurred.

Now, I could go for a lot longer. I do apologise, I haven’t had practice at speaking to so many people.
This is the most people I have seen in the last seven months. I will try to condense what I have to say a
little.

When applying for my asylum what was important to me is that Ecuador was a democracy, that it
respected the rule of law, that it was not a totalitarian, arbitrary or dictatorial State – all States have
their problems, I know that, all States have their difficulties in how they go about things – but I read
very closely the Ecuadorian Constitution. I read it very closely.

Article 16.2 says “all persons have the right to universal access to information and communication
technologies”.

Article 66.2 says “the following rights of persons are guaranteed: the right to voice one’s opinion and to
express one’s thinking freely in all its forms and manifestations”. There is no qualification in the
Ecuadorian Constitution on the right to express opinion. There are qualifications on factual claims; they
must be true, for example, if they affect a person’s reputation, but there’s no qualification on opinion.

Article 20 says “the State shall guarantee the confidentiality of journalists’ sources”.

Article 41: “persons who have been granted asylum or sanctuary shall benefit from special protection,
guaranteeing the full exercise of their rights” – the full exercise of their rights – “the State shall respect
and guarantee the principle of non-return”. You don’t expel refugees. And, very importantly now,

Article 79: “in no case shall the extradition of an Ecuadorian be granted”.


As well as being someone in a difficult situation, who has not been able to properly communicate with
their children, who’s been denied since January 28th nearly all visitors other than my lawyers –
Parliamentarians, figures from Human Rights Watch, the General Counsel of Human Rights Watch,
investigating this situation. I have not been able to communication with my children and work.

The Government has played a game where it has tried to present these very grave restrictions on human
dignity as if it’s about the internet. It’s not. It’s restricting all my telephone calls.

Three jammers were installed in this embassy – three jammers – there is proof of that. The Ecuadorian
Consul, who was going to testify today, I don’t know how he has been excluded from testimony but he
was going to present evidence of that.

It seems to me that either Ecuador is a State that believes in the rule of law, that restrictions on
someone’s rights happen through law, they must obey the Constitution, or it’s not. This is not a question
about trivial rules being employed in a Government building. There are many rules in Government
buildings, at hospitals and universities, we all understand that there must be some rules so that there
can be good order. But there cannot be illegal rules.

The fact that a government controls a particular piece of space does not mean it can violate its
Constitution, can violate UN-mandated rights, that it can engage in punishment without process, it
cannot can strip from the courts their obligation to decide these matters or the rights of Parliament to
decide these matters.

It cannot be that a journalist giving their opinions on a social network is effectively considered to be a
crime and where they would be expelled and placed in prison, in the UK initially and then in the United
States for 45 years to life. That cannot be the case.

There must be some rules for the State, for the Executive, and not only for those people who are in its
dominion. As an Ecuadorian citizen, do I have the right to defend my reputation, to take part in the
debates around me, in my own country? Or can that be simply stripped?

No journalist, no citizen, should accept that what they can speak about can be defined from day to day
for reasons of political expediency. Their freedom to associate defined day to day for reasons of the
Government’s international, domestic, political expediency, because it wants to use me as some kind of
bargaining chip in different negotiations that the Government has.

It can’t, for example, commit murder in this embassy. It can’t bind someone to a chair in this embassy,
and neither can it put a tape over a journalist’s mouth from day to day as a result of political
expediency. That’s wrong in any country and it’s wrong in Ecuador.

Now, to conclude, while there have been many legal arguments that have gone about, I am a journalist,
I study and understand corruption and the influence of great and powerful States, so I can simply say
things how they are.

And we all know how they are. That is, that due to various weaknesses in the Ecuadorian Government,
namely the split – which I do not want to have any part of – within the Government’s Party, it has
become weak and it has therefore started to lean on the United States and the UK for various kinds of
support and this has caused an undue amount of influence by the United States. It really comes from –
well, we can trace it back – in March 2017 WikiLeaks published a very important publication, the
largest ever in the history of the CIA…

Translator Please, Mr Assange, can you wait for a second? The Judge has halted your presentation.
Please stand by. The Attorney-General is asking for the floor. The Attorney-General. Please stand by.
AG: Madame Judge, with your permission, from everything that we have heard thus far Mr Assange is
not referring to the protective action. Nonetheless, I have decided not to remain quiet, given the
malicious and perverse insinuations about what Ecuador is doing, it has been influenced by foreign
States. Ecuador is a sovereign country and this is how it’s provided asylum and protection to Mr
Assange. So what Mr Assange should remit in his statement is whether the Ecuadorian State has
violated Mr Assange’s rights with the adoption of this Special Protocol. Thank you.

Judge:: After the intervention of the plaintiff in the [garbled]. As we indicated at the beginning the non-
interruption of any presentations of each one of the Parties was to be respected. By having granted the
floor to the Defendants, it also based on the existence or non-existence of violation of rights. Evidently,
the theory of the case or the evidence presented by the Plaintiff has been the violation stemming from
the application of the Protocol issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. However the Plaintiff does it
is his own right, nonetheless I would like to request Mr Assange, on my authority as to lead the debate
only exclusively around the nature of this Constitutional action, in other words protective action being
heard today. So we are going to limit ourselves to the presentation already done by the Plaintiff. We
have determined as specifically what the Constitutional rights that have been violated allegedly by the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs so we’re going to [garbled] explain and face this violation in the case itself.
This [garbled] express request to Mr Assange. Mr Assange, you may continue.

JA: Thank you. What is occurring is not about this Protocol. What has occurred since March 28 is
about something much more serious. It is the Ecuadorian Government positioning itself in order to
violate the asylum. Positioning itself in terms of its public discourse. Gagging me in order to rebut the
allegations that it is making in public that it is apparently deliberately leaking out to the press selective
scandalous material.

It’s all about setting the ground in order to violate the asylum, to hand me over to the United States. It’s
come off the back of our March 2017 publication, the largest-ever in the history of the CIA, that
resulted in many threats against WikiLeaks and, as of June this year, my alleged source Joshua Schulte,
a CIA intelligence officer, was seized, put into prison, and they are trying to sentence him to 135 years.

That’s a very serious matter.

We know that Senators have written to [US Vice President] Mike Pence, telling him to tell President
Moreno to hand me over.

We know that on 28 June Vice-President Pence met President Moreno and the White House stated
publicly: “The Vice-President raised the issue of Mr Assange with President Moreno. It was a
constructive conversation. They agreed to remain in close co-ordination on the potential next steps
going forward.”

On 13 July this year the Inter-American Court decision was announced.

On 15 July, The Times here, a big prestigious paper in the UK, revealed that: “Britain is in high-level
talks with Ecuador in an attempt to remove Mr Assange from its embassy. Ministers and senior Foreign
Office officials are locked in discussions over the fate of Assange. The diplomatic effort comes weeks
before a visit to the UK by Lenin Moreno.”

On 21 July, the Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald at The Intercept revealed that: “A
source close to the Ecuadorian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the President’s Office, unauthorised to
speak publicly, confirmed to The Intercept that Moreno is ‘close to finalising, if he has not already
finalised, an agreement to hand over Assange to the UK’. The withdrawal of asylum and the physical
ejection of Assange could come early...”.

This is what we are talking about. So let’s not play games here. The Ecuadorian State, for various
political reasons, seeks to violate the law and conduct a public campaign in order to make it acceptable
to hand over a persecuted journalist to the United States as a result of pressure, well-documented
pressure, from the United States Government.

I understand and I sympathise with the complexities of running a State and the complexities of doing
foreign affairs. It’s not an easy job. I’ve seen that for myself first-hand. But there must be some limits
to how low a State can go. That is the nature of the rule of law, where we have individual rights.

[Judge interrupting]

Translator: Mr Assange, please what you are indicating is not based on the protective action and the
judge says that unfortunately we are going to have to interrupt your allocution because you have not
contributed with the necessary elements in keeping with the basis that has been presented by the
protective action.

JA: Let me conclude then.

[judge interrupting]

JA: Shall I conclude…?

[judge interrupting again]

R: Please be concrete then, Mr Assange.

JA: Ok, thank you.

R: Thank you. You have the floor.

JA: I think I have been quite concrete but I am not a lawyer, I’m a journalist, and I describe the whole
reality, not just the law.

This Protocol and the events that led up to it show a clear pattern of trying to subvert the Inter-
American Court’s decision; to create pretexts to violate my asylum.

The question I believe is before the court today is whether the Government can do anything it wants, or
whether the court can buttress the State and make it stronger. Because when the UK or the US says that
I should be gagged, or requires that I should be gagged, and places that pressure on the Ecuadorian
Government – as it may do for any journalist speaking in Ecuador, any refugee, any citizen that
exposes corruption in other States – the Government needs to be able to say “We can’t do that. There
are laws in our country. We have a Constitution. We would like to do it but we can’t. There is a limit.”

I quote President Moreno: “If Mr Assange promises to stop emitting opinions on the politics of friendly
nations like Spain and the United States then we have no problem with him going online speaking his
opinion” and “I understand he currently has no access to stop him from doing it again.”

Of course, it is not the case that it is simply the internet. That’s, if you like, a ‘soft sell’ from the
Ecuadorian State to fool the press and people into thinking “Oh well, there’s just limited restrictions.”
The restrictions are deep. There are restrictions on my work, my children, my deeply held values,
people coming in and out of the embassy, jammers that expose me and the other embassy staff to
needless radiation. They are serious restrictions and this is a very improper process. It’s a humiliating
process to me personally. I’m a humiliating process for me as an Ecuadorian. And it needs to stop.
Now.

Judge: We have concluded with the Plaintiff at this particular moment and in virtue of [garbled]
appearance of third parties is the authority of my seat, in case there are some basic elements that are
presented at the moment to resolving this Constitutional action. In virtue of the right assisting the
Parties, the Plaintiff and Defendants, for the performance of a reply with all the necessary elements that
originated in the interventions, and moreover of the amicus curiae. At this moment we will proceed
with the presentation of these amicus curiae and, after this, with the reply so as not to violate any rights
regarding the presentations that are going to be presented and heard. According to the Secretary, as a
first amicus curiae we have Mr Louis Fernando Molino Unaffa [phonetic]. We would like to remind
him that the presentation of amicus curiae is only going to be allowed for 10 minutes each.