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France's Le Pen demands political asylum for Snowden

AFP

The leader of the French far-right National Front is better known for demanding big reductions in the number of refugees taken in by France. On Monday, she demanded that France give political asylum to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

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Marine Le Pen, leader of France’s anti-immigration National Front (FN) party, has demanded that the country give former American defense contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden immediate political asylum.

In an open message, Le Pen said she was demanding French President François Hollande “to give, in the name of the French Republic, asylum to this young man who had the courage to reveal to humanity a very serious threat to democracy and to public freedoms.”

The FN leader is better known for calling on cuts to French asylum quotas.

During her campaign ahead of the 2012 presidential election, she called for an 80 percent reduction in the number of refugees taken in by France over five years.

Snowden, a former low-level CIA employee and sub-contractor to the US National Security Agency, revealed on Sunday that he was the source of a leak about a top-secret US program code named PRISM that monitored internet use and phone records.

The 29-year-old told the Guardian and Washington Post newspapers that he had blown the whistle on the NSA’s activity to protect “basic liberties for people around the world”.

On Monday, he told the Guardian he was holed up Hong Kong, which has an extradition treaty with the United States.

He said he was looking at trying to get political asylum in a country that shared his values – and that “the nation that most encompasses this is Iceland.”

Icelandic authorities said on Monday that they had not been contacted by Snowden, and that the only way to apply for asylum there was to arrive in the country itself.

 

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