France needs whistleblower law: Julian Assange

Paris, Aug 22 (IANS) WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has urged French President Francois Hollande to introduce a law to protect whistleblowers, a media report said.

Assange’s latest plea to France comes almost two months after he wrote an open letter to Hollande asking him to “welcome” him to the country, The Local news portal reported.

“I would like to appeal to Francois 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 on Friday via webcam during an event organised by green political party, EELV in northern France.

“This law must guarantee the protection of whistleblowers in cases where they have revealed information. In any case, protection is needed,” he added.

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, the French government rejected Assange’s earlier plea to permit him to come to France.

“France has received the letter from Assange. A closer examination shows that when taking account of the legal elements and the situation of Assange, France cannot act on his request,” a statement from the French presidential palace said.

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

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