WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s lawyer today claimed that he had key information which would be a “big surprise” when revealed if his trial for rape went ahead in Sweden.

Baltasar Garzon, the Spanish lawyer, who was addressing an archivist conference in Brisbane on Thursday, spent four hours in a briefing with Mr. Assange on Sunday discussing his legal strategy.

The veteran international lawyer — who ran a case against Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet — was critical of Australian authorities for failing to provide consular assistance to Mr. Assange, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Mr. Garzon said the Australian government’s response to requests for assistance had been “entirely negative”.

Australia criticised

“Not at any point in time have consular authorities visited Mr. Assange. And I understand that to be an obligation for all citizens of Australia. Men and women of Australia, who happen to find themselves in a similar situation, have the right to consular assistance and they should not be in a position of having to request it,” he said.

When asked about the specific rape allegations facing his client, Mr. Garzon declined to go into specifics but said there was “fragmented knowledge” about the matter.

He said the defence was in possession of a number of fundamental elements about the rape allegations, that when made public, would be surprising.

“We cannot divulge them right now but we have requested that the prosecution take a statement from [Mr.] Assange,” he said.

Mr. Garzon said the defence had requested the possibility for a prosecutor from Sweden to travel to London to take a statement from Mr. Assange. He said Mr. Assange was in perfect health, but the living conditions in the embassy were not ideal.

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