France has confidence in UK justice over Assange - Minister

Situation of Mr Julian Assange – Reply by M. Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, to a question in the National Assembly

Paris, 17 November 2020

I’d like to say three things in answer to your question about the legal situation of Mr Julian Assange, who, as you know, is an Australian national whose trial is still under way in the United Kingdom as we speak. The verdict is due to be issued in January.

First of all, as you know, your question isn’t a new one. The French authorities have had the opportunity to speak about this issue in the past; that was in 2015. France, which was asked back then, decided it was not appropriate to give a favourable response to any request for political asylum made by Mr Assange to the French authorities, due to factors linked to the legal situation and the actual situation of the person concerned.

Secondly, it doesn’t currently seem that the analysis of this case and Mr Assange’s situation has changed. There are legal proceedings, and I’d like to remind you that we have confidence in the United Kingdom’s justice system, because it’s a country where the rule of law prevails. And the future status of the relationship between the UK and the European Union won’t change this fundamental historical reality. That’s worth saying, very clearly even, here in this Assembly.

And finally, thirdly, you referred to the mechanism concerning whistleblowers and included Mr Assange in this category; it’s a French mechanism, which is a very advanced one at global level because it allows both the legal definition of a whistleblower and the reporting procedures and safeguards they can be given. But that’s not the case here, precisely because we’re talking about a trial in the UK, and for my part I have confidence in the justice system in the UK in this regard./.

Published on 18/11/2020

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