THIS much has become clear in recent weeks :

When Julian Assange, the Wiki Leaks founder, was living in Ecuador's embassy in London, someone was spying on him, recording his private conversations.

The question is : Who ordered the surveillance?

Mr. Assange - in jail in Britain and facing prosecution in the United States - is scheduled to testify remotely later this month before a Spanish judge in a criminal case accusing a Spanish security company on eavesdropping on him illegally.

The Spanish court has revealed a new set of secrets in the international saga of Mr. Assange, 48, showing that his claims of being spied on were not just paranoia or a publicity stunt.

But as with all things related to someone who has been labeled as a villain and a hero, a prophet and a crank, the revelations are subject to conflicting interpretations.

In Spain's National Court, a public prosecutor and Mr. Assange's lawyers have presented a raft of evidence that he was recorded while in the Ecuadorian Embassy, which they say violated his right to privacy.

The materials includes video recordings, reviewed by The New york Times, in which his conversations with visitors are audible.

The prosecutor and Mr. Assange's allies argue that the American Intelligence Agency was behind the spying. A spokesman for the agency declined to comment.

After President Trump took office in 2017, the C.I.A. began espionage aimed at Mr. Assange, WikiLeaks and their ties to Russian intelligence, and the Justice Department began building a criminal case against him.

But it remains unclear whether the Americans were behind bugging the embassy.

The case adds another layer of complexity to the legal travails of Mr. Assange, who has been indicted in the united States on charges of espionage and hacking that exposed classified national security secrets. The Justice Department has asked Britain to extradite him, and the British courts have begun considering the request.

His lawyers plan to introduce evidence from the Spanish case into the extradition case, arguing that it should block the British government from turning him over to the Americans.

They say that the surveillance includes recordings of privileged conversations Mr. Assange had with his lawyers and doctors, and proves that he cannot get a fair trial in the United States.

The British courts are unlikely to accept that argument, said Amy Jeffress, a lawyer at Arnold & Porter in Washington and former Justice Department Attache at the American Embassy in London.

She said the legal standard is whether extradition would comply with Britain's Human Rights Act, which protects the right to privacy but balances it against considerations like national security and fighting crime.

The honor and serving of the latest news and research on Mr. Julian Assange and his travails, continues. The World Students Society thanks author Raphael Minder.


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