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France refuses Assange asylum bid

The French President has turned down a request for political asylum from WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

The Australian, who has spent three years living inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, wrote to Francois Hollande.

The letter, published by French daily newspaper Le Monde, said: " Only France is in a position today to offer me the necessary protection against, and exclusively against, the political persecution of which I am currently a target."

France studied the request and decided it couldn't be granted given the legal ramifications, President Hollande's office said in a statement, adding that Mr Assange was not in any "immediate danger".

It added that Mr Assange is the subject of a European arrest warrant.

The WikiLeaks founder has been granted political asylum by the Ecuador Government following his sudden arrival at the embassy in 2012.

He is seeking to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he faces sex allegations by two women - claims he denies.

He fears that if he goes to Sweden he will be taken to the United States for questioning about the whistleblowing website.

The Metropolitan Police have mounted a round-the-clock guard on the embassy since Mr Assange sought refuge inside the building.


From Belfast Telegraph