• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Calls grow for France to grant Snowden asylum

Ben McPartland · 1 Jul 2013, 13:14

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.

Story continues below…

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)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Aussie TV show accused of staging French burkini row
Photo: Channel 7 screengrab

Was an Australian TV report about France's burkini ban a set up to portray the French as "anti-Muslim"?

Five ways Paris is better than it was 15 years ago
All photos: AFP

Here's how one man says Paris has changed for the better over his last 15 years in the city.

Man in 60s wounds two in France supermarket shooting
Photo: AFP

A police SWAT team has surrounded gunman's apartment.

Paris makes 'history' by banning cars on river bank

The French capital is going green with a vengeance.

France's hospital doctors stage strike to highlight crisis
Photo: AFP

Unions have called for a "massive" walk-out among hospital doctors.

France's last 'real Camembert' cheese fights for survival
All photos: Charly Triballeau/AFP

It's a cheese maker's take on David and Goliath.

PSG's Serge Aurier sentenced to jail for attack on policeman
Photo: AFP

PSG player had attacked a police officer outside a night club on the Champs Elysées.

Paris city chiefs ready to let nudists hang out in park
Photo: AFP

A nudist park in Paris? "We're going to do it," says City Hall.

Hollande calls on UK to help solve Calais migrant crisis
Photo: AFP

The French president knows that immigration is a key issue of the presidential election battle.

Air France plane dumps fuel 'over Fontainebleau forest'
Photo: AFP

The mayor of the famous town near Paris is furious.

Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Features
Room for improvement: Paris's matchbox apartments
'Stop telling immigrants to be French and help it happen'
Society
Take the test: How far have you assimilated into French culture?
Lifestyle
Eleven things you should know before moving to Paris
National
France's Marion Cotillard rebuffs rumours of fling with Brad Pitt
National
Eight arrested over links to Nice truck attacker
Features
Why everyone should party in a French chateau at least once
Travel
The Frenchman who hated 'Nazi-Zealand' after four-day hitch-hike fail
Culture
What's on: Ten exciting events across France in September
The 45-million year old underground shells that flavour Champagne
Features
French job speak: All the terms you need to know
'Resilient' Paris now a more appealing city than New York
National
France says it's OK to warn drivers about speed cameras
Meet Honorine, 113, the oldest person in France
Education
Grenoble named France's best city to be a student
Society
New Metro map reveals cheapest pints of beer in Paris
Business & Money
How reliant is the French economy on Paris?
Society
Here's why Parisians want to move to Bordeaux
And the 'best place to spend a weekend in Europe' is… Lyon
Analysis & Opinion
'Muslims in France must be considered ordinary citizens'
Armed guards to ride French trains from October
National
France among Europe's priciest for train travel
National
Paris set to make river bank car-free for six-month trial
2,732
jobs available