French president rejects Assange's asylum request

France rejects WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s asylum request

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, was promptly turned down by French authorities on Friday when he sought asylum from the nation.

Assange had requested asylum from socialist French President Francois Hollande, asserting that his life was in danger, not long after WikiLeaks had published documents showing that the US spied on French leaders, including Hollande and his two predecessors.

“France is the only country that can offer me the necessary protection against.. the political persecutions I face,” Assange said according to French daily Le Monde.

"By welcoming me, France would carry out a humanitarian and symbolic gesture, sending encouragement to every journalist and whistleblower."

Just an hour after his letter was published on Le Monde’s website, the French presidential office issued a statement saying the request was rejected.

The statement by French authorities read "France has received the letter from Mr. Assange. An in-depth review shows that in view of the legal and material elements of Mr Assange's situation, France cannot grant his request."

"The situation of Mr. Assange does not present any immediate danger. He is also the target of a European arrest warrant," it added.

Assange is accused of sexual assault by Swedish authorities, however he denies the allegations against him.

For the past three years, he has been living in Ecuador’s London embassy, and fears being deported to Sweden which would then extradite him to the US, where he could be tried over WikiLeaks publications.

Assange added to his appeal that his youngest child, and the mother of the child are French citizens, and he has not been able to see them in five years.

French Justice Minister Christiane Taubira had suggested granting asylum to Assange in June, however Francois Hollande disagreed with her.

Hollande stated in a press conference that his nation and “the US are allies” and added that “France cannot act on his request.”

Journalist and activist Assange is the mastermind behind the release of 500,000 classified military files on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and 250,000 diplomatic cables by WikiLeaks in 2010, consequently embarrassing Washington.

Last week, WikiLeaks had revealed documents showing that the US National Security Agency spied on French presidents, including Hollande.

Hollande stated that the spying was “unacceptable.”


TRTWorld and agencies