Support Growing in France for
Assange Asylum Bid
February 28, 2020
British court is still considering whether Julian Assange should be
extradited to the U.S. to face espionage charges. The WikiLeaks
founder could benefit from a growing wave of support across Europe
among those who oppose his possible transfer to the United States to
face trial. Assange's European legal team intends to seek political
asylum in France for him.
The high-profile case of Julian Assange has brought a number of
lawyers who claim to defend the man who considers himself a
whistleblower. In France, one the members of this legal team wants
President Emmanuel Macron to grant asylum to Assange, who is jailed
in London and faces extradition to the United States. Eric
Dupond-Moretti, a well-known French lawyer, claims the current
process is unfair. Assange could spend the rest of his life in a
U.S. prison, if convicted.
He explained that the United States wants to have a political
process and that freedom of press is threatened with this case. He
said the Constitution of the United States would prevent the
prosecution of a U.S. citizen for such facts. This case is a concern
for all journalists, non U.S. citizen around the world.
Dupond-Moretti said the U.S. Supreme Court stated clearly in
different decisions that freedom of expression cannot be prosecuted
as it is case with Assange.
In London, a lawyer for the United States accused Julian Assange of
risking the lives of intelligence sources by publishing classified
U.S. government documents. Assange faces charges under the U.S.
Espionage Act for the 2010 release via his website of a trove of
files detailing the realities of U.S. military campaigns in
Afghanistan and Iraq.
Organizations supporting the Wikileaks founder call it a bogus
argument. Rebecca Vincent is the Britain Bureau Director for
Reporters without borders.
it should be a matter of criminal offense to leak information, the
question of public’s interest defense is very important. Of course,
it is the prerogative of states and some information action must be
confidential. But when the information leaked is in the public
interest, when it contributes to journalism, and, in fact, political
change on the basis of revelations that the public has a right to
know. We consider a matter of press freedom and we will defend it.
That is very much the case with Mr. Assange,” she said.
In 2010, WikiLeaks also released hundreds of thousands of documents
in their original form -- including the secret identities of
diplomats and local sources. It was a shocking revelation that
brought to light some US intelligence operations, including spying
on leaders from foreign countries, such as France or Germany. For
that specific reason, some French lawmakers think Julian Assange
should be rewarded with asylum in France.
Jean-Christophe Lagarde, a centrist French representative, is one of
He said that even if the United States has been an ally of France,
before Donald Trump came to power, the French cannot trust them
because, to defend their own interests, the [Americans] can spy on
foreign leaders. Lagarde said he thinks it is a red flag between
democracies. For that, he saif, some countries should give Julian
Assange the proper recognition for releasing American secrets.
Julian Assange's legal battle in Britain is far from over as the
hearing is expected to take several weeks before the judge make a
decision on his case.