• France edition
 
Calls grow for France to grant Snowden asylum
Photo: The Guardian/AFP

Calls grow for France to grant Snowden asylum

Published: 01 Jul 2013 12:27 GMT+02:00
Updated: 01 Jul 2013 13:14 GMT+02:00

The latest revelations from Snowden were carried in Britain’s Guardian newspaper and Germany's Der Spiegel over the weekend.

Documents leaked by the NSA whistleblower claim to show how the French embassy in Washington DC was one of 38 spying "target"s for US intelligence services, which included EU missions to the US.

The reports have been met with fury across the political spectrum in France and on Monday parties united in calling for Snowden to be granted asylum as a reward for leaking documents revealing the extent of US surveillance operations.

France’s Green party the EELV (Europe, Ecologie-Les Verts), which has two ministers in the Socialist-led government, urged President François Hollande to help Snowden, “a defender of freedom” for “raising the alert”.

In a statement the party said: “The EELV and all its French and European MPs solemnly request the President of the Republic and the government grant political asylum to a man who  had the courage to reveal the existence of illegal surveillance but also allowed us to know the extent of it, which included the EU offices in the United Nations and Brussels."

'Whistleblowers need to be protected'.

In the eyes of the Greens there were two reasons why the former CIA operative, who is currently stranded in Moscow airport in the hands of the Russian authorities, should be granted safe passage to France.

“It would be a reminder that France’s intention is to protect all whistleblowers, whatever their nationality, because they are an essential safeguard of democracy,” the statement from the party said.

The second motive for allowing Snowden to come to France would be to show the US that “France rejects the American diktat over data protection and violations of basic civil liberties in the name of the fight against terrorism.

In a sign of how deep the anger is in France over the spying allegation the leaders of the far-left and far-right have shown rare agreement in calling on Hollande to come to Snowden’s aid.

'If we don't protect Snowden who will be protect?'

National Front leader Marine le Pen and far-left firebrand Jean-Luc Mélenchon both believe Snowden should be granted asylum although they two did spar over who was fist to issue the demand.

On Sunday Mélenchon said: I request that France grant political asylum to Mr Snowden, a benefactor of Europe, who helped uncover this conspiracy.”

Le Pen accused Mélenchon of trying to "jump on the bandwagon" saying:  “I was the first to demand that France grants political asylum to Edward Snowden, the whistleblower over this spying affair.

“We must protect someone who has worked for the good of the public,” she added. “If we don’t grant asylum to Snowden then who exactly are we going to grant it to.”

Despite the obvious anger in Paris the French government has so far tempered its response to the spying revelations.

Although Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has demanded explanations from Washington DC, ministers have been guarded over the question of granting Edward Snowden asylum.

In an interview with BFMTV government minister Fleur Pellerin said “there was a need to look at the lack of an international status that could protect whistleblowers.”

She added that the Snowden case fell in to a “grey area of international law”.

A deputy from the ruling Socialist party, Jean-Christophe Cambadelis said ‘The EU should first increase the pressure by asking the US to she shed some light on the affair.”

What do you think? Should France grant political asylum to Snowden?

Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Immigration overhaul
French reading tests for long-term visa applicants
France plans to overhaul parts of its immigration system. Photo: Denis Charlet/AFP

French reading tests for long-term visa applicants

New legislation unveiled on Wednesday aims to shrink the bureaucratic hurdles facing foreigners who want to stay in France and provide a glimmer of hope for asylum seekers languishing in limbo. But anyone wanting to stay long-term will need to be able to read French. READ  

EU says Ryanair owes France €9.6 million
Ryanair has been ordered to refund millions in subsidies to local French authorities. Photo: Paolo Margari/Flickr

EU says Ryanair owes France €9.6 million

Low-cost airline Ryanair received nearly €10 million in illegal government aid and now must pay the money back, the European Commission said on Wednesday. It's another costly blow for Ryanair after a French court ordered it to stump up €9million in damages last year. READ  

VIDEO preview
Tour de France stage 17: Steep climbs await riders
Stage 17 of the Tour de France will see some tought climbs for the riders. Photo: Screengrab LeTour.fr

Tour de France stage 17: Steep climbs await riders

Stage 17 of the 2014 Tour de France will see the peloton face some steep climbs in the Pyrenees mountains with race leader Vincenzo Nibali expecting a tough day on the bike. Here's a video preview of the stage. READ  

Paris: Security beefed up for pro-Palestinian demo
Riot police will be out in force on Wednesday for the pro-Palestinian protest. Photo: Pierre Andrieu/AFP

Paris: Security beefed up for pro-Palestinian demo

Police chiefs in Paris will take no chances on Wednesday when the latest pro-Palestinian rally takes place in the city. Thousands of extra officers will be drafted in to try to prevent the violence that has blighted previous banned protests. READ  

VIDEO: Stuntman jumps onto moving Paris metro
A Paris stuntman's video of him jumping onto a moving train has gone global. Photo: Screengrab/YouTube

VIDEO: Stuntman jumps onto moving Paris metro

A video featuring a thrill-seeking acrobat named “Mister Puma” risking his life by jumping onto the roof of a moving metro train in Paris has proved a global hit. But it's just his latest crazy feat on the Metro. Watch some his death-defying stunts here. READ  

French court rules no halal meals in prison
A French prison will not be forced to serve up halal meals after all. Photo: John Moore/AFP

French court rules no halal meals in prison

A controversial ruling that ordered a French prison to serve up halal meals to inmates was overturned by a court in Lyon this week in the latest issue to pit the country's secular tradition against Islamic practice. READ  

The Mistral deal
France tells UK to put own house in order
"Stop pointing the finger at France and deal with London's Russian Oligarch's," Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius tells the UK. Photo: Gali Tibbon/AFP

France tells UK to put own house in order

France lashed out at the UK on Tuesday with Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius telling "British friends" to target the Russian oligarchs in London rather than Paris's controversial €1.2 billion warship deal with Moscow, which Washington also described as "completely inappropriate". READ  

Gaza crisis: Air France halts flights to Tel Aviv
Air France has suspended all flights to Tel Aviv. Photo: AFP

Gaza crisis: Air France halts flights to Tel Aviv

French national airline company Air France suspended its flights to Tel Aviv on Tuesday until further notice, due to the worsening security situation in Gaza. READ  

Five children killed in French minibus crash
Five children die in minibus crash in eastern France. Photo: AFP

Five children killed in French minibus crash

UPDATED: Five children and an adult died in a road crash near the city of Troyes in central France on Tuesday when their minibus collided head-on with a lorry travelling in the opposite direction, French authorities said. READ  

Tour de France stage 16: Australian Rogers wins
Australian Michael Rogers won the 16th stage of the Tour de France on Tuesday. Photo: Eric Feferberg/AFP

Tour de France stage 16: Australian Rogers wins

Australian rider Michael Rogers won stage 16 of the Tour de France in the Pyrenees on Tuesday ahead of Frenchman Thomas Voeckler. The 237.5km stage was the longest of the the 2014 "Grande Boucle". READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
Forget 'faire l'amour', here's 15 top French expressions for making love
National
Report - 'Anti-Semitic' riots in France: 'We may leave for Israel'
National
IN IMAGES: Two Paris anti-Israel demos descend into violence
National
Paris Plages: Here's 10 reasons to head down to the city beach
International
'Mont Blanc is like Disneyland. It's time to end the free-for-all'
Travel
Fancy climbing Mont Blanc? Here's 10 reasons to think twice about it
Travel
Sun's up: Temperatures in parts of France could hit 40°C
National
Monkey slur lands ex-National Front member with hefty jail sentence
National
VIDEO: Jewish 'ultras' and anti-Israel mob in running street battle in Paris
International
Middle East crisis: 'Jews in France are stand-ins for Israeli targets'
Culture
IN PICTURES: Bastille Day fireworks mark centenary of the 'Great War'
Gallery
Looking for a weird museum in Paris? Here's 10 that are worth a visit
National
Clear your head: Eight tips for buying wine in a French supermarket
National
'Don't blame the labour market for France's unemployment woes!'
National
Job applicants in France: Be prepared to send in an anonymous CV
Sport
'I've never seen scenes like it' - Tour de France winner on the UK crowds
Sport
'Bouligans' to booze bans: Ten things you need to know about pétanque
Gallery
Driving in France: How to stay out of trouble on the roads
Travel
Ten essential free phone apps for a visit to Paris
Gallery
Like cycling? Love France? See the top ten best cycling routes in France
International
'They think beer is a vegetable': What the French really think of Germans
National
Sarkozy's dream of a 2017 comeback is not dead yet
Gallery
Ten reasons why France is better than Germany (we're not talking football)
Sponsored Article
CurrencyFair: Why it pays when making overseas transfers
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se