Wikileaks' Assange pens open letter to Hollande requesting safe haven
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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange asked France for asylum in an open letter to President François Hollande published in French daily Le Monde on Friday. Hollande's office promptly responded that it would not be able to comply with his request.
The 44-year-old Assange, who was granted political asylum by Ecuador in 2012 and has lived in the country’s embassy in London ever since, wrote that “my life today is in danger, Mr President, and my physical and psychological integrity is … threatened”.
"Only France is now able to offer me the necessary protection against (...) political persecution of which I am currently the subject," he added.
President Hollande’s office immediately rejected the request.
“A close examination shows that when taking into account the legal elements and Mr Assange's situation, France cannot act on his request," the Elysée said in a statement.
“Mr Assange's situation presents no immediate danger. He is also the subject of a European arrest warrant,” it pointed out.
Assange is wanted for questioning over allegations of sexual assault committed in Sweden when he was visiting the country in 2010. Assange denies the allegations and has claimed they are politically motivated.
In August, Assange said he would leave the Ecuadorian embassy "soon", amid reports that he was suffering from a heart condition and other ailments.
The Australian helped found WikiLeaks in 2006. The website has frequently published leaked secret documents, most notably a series of US military and diplomatic files provided by former US soldier Chelsea Manning in 2010.