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Assange: France needs whistleblower law

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Assange: France needs whistleblower law
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange participates by video conference in the French Green party EELV summer camp. Photo: Philippe Huguen/AFP
16:45 CEST+02:00
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Friday urged French President François Hollande to make a law protecting whistleblowers.

“I would like to appeal to Mr François Hollande. If France really wants to protect the rights of its journalists and its people, it must allow the communication and sharing of information and it is therefore necessary to have a law,” Assange said via webcam during the green EELV party's summer camp in northern France.

“This law must guarantee the protection of whistleblowers in cases where they have revealed information. In any case, protection is needed. But here I'm talking about Europe and France. The United States is another thing. Then it must also avoid violating human rights," he said, according to BFMTV

Assange has been ensconced in Ecuador's Embassy since 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden where he was wanted for sex crimes.

The former computer hacker fears extradition to Sweden could lead to him being transferred to the United States to face trial over WikiLeaks' publication of classified US military and diplomatic documents.

Earlier this month Swedish prosecutors dropped a probe into some sex claims against Julian Assange because a time limit had expired however he is still wanted for questioning on another claim. 

Assange's latest plea to France comes almost two months after he wrote an open letter to the French President asking him to “welcome” him to France.

The long letter, which was titled "Mr Hollande, Welcome me in France", started with Assange introducing himself as "Julian Paul Assange, born on July 3rd, 1971 in Townsville.

Timeline: The Julian Assange sex allegations

It then went into detail about his story and spells out the danger he is in.

"I am a journalist who has been pursued and threatened with death by the US authorities because of my professional activities.

"I have never been formally charged with an offense or a common crime, anywhere in the world, including Sweden and the UK," Assange wrote.

In his letter to Hollande, Assange said he had not seen his youngest child or the child's mother -- both French -- for five years.

"I have had to keep their existence secret up to today in order to protect them," he wrote.

His plea, which was published in Le Monde, came after Wikileaks published revelations that the US spy program NSA snooped on three French presidents as well as top ministers and business deals between 2006 and 2012.

Assange said he was encouraged by the political outrage in France over the recent spying revelations as well as the move by MPs to introduce a law to protect whistleblowers.

However Assange's demand fell on deaf ears and was firmly and swiftly rejected by Hollande.

A statement from the presidential palace read: "France has received the letter from Mr Assange. A closer examination shows that when taking account of the legal elements and the situation of Mr. Assange, France cannot act on his request."

"The situation of Mr Assange presents no immediate danger. He is also the subject of a European arrest warrant." 

Julian Assange's quotes have been translated from French into English.

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