France rejects asylum request from WikiLeaks' Assange

'France cannot act on his request,' says the office of President Francois Hollande

Afp July 03, 2015
A March 23, 2015 file photo shows WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange seen on a screen speaking via web cast from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London during an event on the sideline of the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council session in Geneva. PHOTO: AFP

PARIS: The French government rejected an asylum request from WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Friday, saying he did not face "immediate danger".

"France cannot act on his request," said the office of President Francois Hollande in a statement, just hours after Assange wrote an open letter to the government requesting asylum.

"The situation of Mr Assange does not present an immediate danger. Furthermore, he is subject to a European arrest warrant," Hollande's office said.

Read: WikiLeaks fact-checks Mubasher Lucman on Twitter

In his letter to the president, published earlier Friday in Le Monde newspaper, Assange described himself as a "journalist pursued and threatened with death by the United States' authorities as a result of my professional activities".

A June 14, 2013 file photo shows Wikileaks founder Julian Assange speaking to the media inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London ahead of the first anniversary of his arrival there on June 19, 2012. PHOTO: AFP

Assange, who turned 44 on Friday, has spent over three years holed up in the Ecuador embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he faces allegations by two women, one of rape and one of sexual assault, which he denies.

Read: Berlin unveils statues of whistle-blowers

The former computer hacker fears extradition to Sweden could lead to him being transferred to the United States to face trial over WikiLeaks' publication of classified US military and diplomatic documents.


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