08:42 GMT +320 June 2018
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    WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange appears on screen via video link during his participation as a guest panelist in an International Seminar on the 60th anniversary of the college of Journalists of Chile in Santiago, Chile, July 12, 2016

    Assange Not to Ask France for Asylum Personally - Lawyer

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    Wikileaks founder Julian Assange does not plan to ask the French authorities for asylum and French President Emmanuel Macron is expected to take the initiative, French human rights defender and Assange's lawyer Juan Branco said Friday, clarifying his previous statements on his client's asylum in France.

    PARIS (Sputnik) — In 2010, Sweden began its investigation into rape allegedly committed by Assange. Since being granted political asylum by Ecuador in 2012, Assange has been living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. Assange did not want to be questioned in Sweden for fear that he might be extradited to the United States over his whistleblowing organization's exposure of classified documents that shed light on activities of the US government.

    ​Earlier in the day, Swedish prosecutors confirmed that the rape probe against Assange had been dropped following a seven-year investigation, but UK police said Assange would still have to be arrested if he stepped out of the Ecuadorian embassy in London where he took refuge in 2012. Branco then told Franceinfo broadcaster that Assange would try to seek asylum in France and ask Paris to make such a gesture, adding that it would be a "responsibility" of France to do that.

    Julian Assange, London, United States, United Kingdom, Sweden, France
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