Assange writes open letter to Hollande, Paris rules out asylum
Julian Assange, the whistleblowing activist who has been living in the Ecuador Embassy in London for over three years, had written an open letter to France’s President Hollande, implying he would like to get political asylum in France. However, Paris quickly rejected the request.
RT spoke with Alain Corvez for his opinion on the decision and what it means for US-French relations.
RT: Julian Assange wrote a letter requesting asylum, which was published in Le Monde, but France’s rejection came very swiftly. Is there a reason for that?
Alain Corvez: I think that [the decision] was prepared before, that’s why the answer came so quickly following the letter of Julian Assange. And this is a shame for France. It shows that our authorities are completely under the command of the American president and his administration. This comes just after knowing that the NSA [National Security Agency] spied on our presidents; this is unacceptable such a reaction. And I think among French opinion, most people are thinking like me.
RT: Would their response have been different had Assange chosen a different method of appealing to France?
AC: No, I think the answer would not have been different because it’s the will of the French government to refuse asylum to Julian Assange. I’m sure you know that our Minister of Justice some time ago was asked by journalists about this request by Assange. They asked her [Christiane Taubira] if Assange asked for asylum, what would you do? She said it was perfectly possible that we would answer positively to the request if this request was forthcoming. On a legal point, it was quite possible to accept this [request for] asylum. But I think the government was aware that this request could come and that’s why the answer was so quick – I think one hour after receiving the letter from Julian Assange.
RT: Do you think the revelations of NSA spying have damaged US-French relations?
AC: I think the NSA revelations had a big impact on French public opinion, but all the governments of the European Union – not the people, but the governments – are under the command of the United States. We understood the reaction of the French government would try its best to diminish the importance of these spying revelations. All the press in France was ordered not to emphasize the information that the Americans were spying on our three previous presidents. I think there is more and more a big gap between French opinion and the French government. But it’s the same in other European countries. I can tell you that… all the information that comes from different European countries is the same.
Look what is happening in Greece. The public opinion is manipulated by the media, by the press, because the press is in the hands of international finance.
Everything is done to avoid a quarrel, a fight, between the American government and the French government. It’s a shame for France to react as it did when we learned about this spying.
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