Ecuador judge halts Assange hearing to find translator fluent in ‘Australian’
- The judge in the WikiLeaks founder’s lawsuit against Ecuador’s Foreign Ministry said the court had erred by appointing a translator who only spoke English
The first hearing in Julian Assange’s lawsuit against Ecuador’s Foreign Affairs Ministry was suspended as the WikiLeaks founder was unable to understand his translator, and the judge called for a replacement fluent in “Australian”.
Speaking from Ecuador’s embassy in London via Skype, Assange said the court-appointed translation service was “not good enough”. Ecuadorean Judge Karina Martinez said that it was indispensable that Assange testify, adding that the court had erred by appointing a Spanish translator who only spoke English – apparently under the impression that the Australian dialect is unintelligible to other anglophones.
Assange filed the suit against Foreign Minister Jose Valencia last week, saying that new rules being imposed on him at the London embassy violate his constitutional rights.
Assange, an Ecuadorean citizen since December, could be expelled from the embassy should he fail to comply with the new rules, which say he must refrain from commenting on politics and clear any visitors with the embassy three working days in advance.
Assange sought the protection of Ecuador in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he faces allegations of rape, and the US, where he could face trial for publishing secret government documents.