France rejects Julian Assange’s plea for asylum

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Espen Moe on Flickr
File photo: Julian Assange

FRENCH president Francois Hollande took less than an hour to reject an application for asylum from Julian Assange who has been in hiding in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for the last three years.

Assange went into hiding after the Wikileaks scandal, in which the website distributed a video in 2010 called Collateral Murders showing that US helicopters had indiscriminately fired upon civilians in Iraq, fatally wounding several of them.

Shortly after, Swedish authorities sought to arrest the Australian on charges of sexual abuse. Assange, claiming the charges were fabricated in retaliation for the Wikileaks revelations, subsequently took refuge in the South American embassy in London and has since claimed he is under threat of death.

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Citing the French Constitution which obliges the country to give refuge to all those risking their life for the sake of liberty, Julian Assange sent a letter on Friday morning to both the French President and the French newspaper Le Monde. Within less than an hour, Hollande responded by rejecting the asylum application on the grounds that Assange did not face any immediate threats and pointing out that Swedish authorities were seeking his extradition to face charges of sexual assault.

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