France Rejects Julian Assange’s Alleged Request for Asylum

RUEDA_DE_PRENSA_CONJUNTA_ENTRE_CANCILLER_RICARDO_PATIÑO_Y_JULIAN_ASSANGE_-_14953880621On 3 June 2015, it was reported that France has refused to grant Julian Assange asylum. Mr Assange has denied making the request. The original report published in the French newspaper, Le Monde, is here (French language).

In an open letter written to President François Hollande, Mr Assange reportedly requested asylum in France, as a “humanitarian and symbolic” gesture. He added that his life was in danger.

President Hollande responded, in a statement issued by the Élysée palace, stating that the request would not be acted upon, on the basis that Mr Assange’s life is not in “immediate danger”, and reaffirming the fact that he is    subject to a European Arrest Warrant (EAW).

However, Mr Assange’s defence lawyer, Baltasar Garzón, denied that a request for asylum has been filed. Rather, Mr Garzon contended that the open letter was an expression of willingness by Mr Assange “to be hosted by France if and only if an initiative was taken by the competent authorities”.

Mr Assange has been living in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since June 2012. He is sought for questioning in Sweden on one count of unlawful coercion, two counts of sexual molestation, and one count of rape. He denies the allegations.

It is feared by Mr Assange that travelling to Sweden will facilitate his extradition to the United States, where he is sought in relation to Wikileaks’ publication of classified documents in 2010.

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