04:35 GMT27 February 2021
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    French artists called on French President Francois Hollande in an open letter to grant asylum to the whistleblowers Julian Assange and Edward Snowden.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) Wikileaks founder Julian Assange currently resides at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, fearing extradition to the United States over espionage charges for publishing secret documents. Former US National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden, who faces similar charges, lives in Russia on a temporary residence permit.

    "For several years, Assange and Snowden have been paying in exile for their bravery. While the fairness of their struggle is accepted by general consent, the situation they face continues to cause resentment. They repeatedly appealed to France after offering France important services, revealing the scandalous practices that the United States used against our country," the letter published on Thursday on the online journal Mediapart, reads.

    French artists, including actor Vincent Cassel and philosopher Edgar Morin, urged Hollande to exercise the country’s right to grant asylum to the people “persecuted for their fight for freedom.”

    In late June, the WikiLeaks website revealed that the NSA has been eavesdropping on French President Francois Hollande and his predecessors, Nicolas Sarkozy and Jacques Chirac, as well as on other top officials in the country.

    Following the revelation of the widespread surveillance program, French Justice Minister Christiane Taubira said that asylum could possibly be granted to Wikileaks founder Assange and NSA whistleblower Snowden.

    French Prime Minister Manuel Valls contradicted the statement, saying the issue was not on the government’s agenda.


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