Cancillería del Ecuador / CC BY 2.0

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s asylum plea to France has been rejected.

Living in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden, Assange, 44, appealed to President Francois Hollande in an open letter published in France’s Le Monde newspaper Friday. “By welcoming me,” Assange wrote, “France would carry out a humanitarian and symbolic gesture, sending encouragement to every journalist and whistleblower.”

BBC News reports:

A statement from Mr Hollande’s office said it had reviewed the request and decided not to grant Mr Assange asylum.

“The situation of Mr Assange does not present any immediate danger,” the statement said. “Furthermore, he is subject to a European arrest warrant.”

Following the letter’s publication, Wikileaks tweeted that Mr Assange “did not submit an asylum application to France. He published an open letter in Le Monde to Hollande and the public.”

The legal team added that he was only responding to an invitation by French civil rights activists – backed by Justice Minister Christiane Taubira – to visit France.

Mr Assange – a journalist and activist – has not been formally charged, but prosecutors want to question him over allegations of rape and sexual misconduct made by two women he met during a trip to Sweden in August 2010.

He claims the allegations are part of a plot to extradite him to the US because of Wikileaks’ publication of thousands of classified US documents earlier in 2010.

But the former computer hacker has not been charged with any crime in the US and the Americans have not issued the UK with an extradition request.

Ecuador offered Mr Assange asylum in August 2012, shortly after he sought refuge at the country’s embassy in London.

The article can be read here.

–Posted by Roisin Davis

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