The Latest: France won't offer Assange asylum unless asked

The Latest: France won't offer Assange asylum unless asked
Julian Assange hace señas a su llegada al Tribunal de Magistrados de Westminster, en Londres, después de que agentes lo sacaran de la embajada ecuatoriana y lo arrestaran, el jueves 11 de abril de 2019. (Victoria Jones/PA vía AP)

LONDON (AP) — The Latest on WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s arrest (all times local):

9:45 a.m.

France’s government says it won’t consider offering Julian Assange political asylum unless he asks for it.

Assange’s French lawyer has appealed to French President Emmanuel Macron to intervene to bring the WikiLeaks founder from a London jail to France and help him avoid extradition to the United States.

Lawyer Juan Branco told The Associated Press on Thursday that Macron should offer mediation and to “take this man under our protection.” He said Assange has a small child in France.

France’s secretary of state for European affairs, Amelie de Montchalin, said Friday on France-Inter radio that while Europe has special measures to protect whistleblowers, France hasn’t received a formal request from Assange. She said “we should listen to what he wants to do” but “we don’t offer asylum to someone who’s not asking for it.”

Macron hasn’t commented publicly.

Assange was arrested Thursday in London and faces U.S. charges related to WikiLeaks’ publication of tens of thousands of classified government documents.


9 a.m.

The leader of Britain’s opposition Labour Party says the government should oppose the extradition of Julian Assange to the United States.

Jeremy Corbyn said in a tweet that the U.S. is trying to extradite Assange because he exposed “evidence of atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Diane Abbott, Labour’s spokeswoman for domestic affairs, told the BBC on Friday that the government should block the extradition on human rights grounds. Assange was arrested Thursday at the Ecuadorean embassy in London.

Abbott says the U.S. case against Assange is about the “embarrassment of the things he’s revealed about the American military and security services.”

She says Assange is “a whistleblower, and much of the information that he brought into the public domain, it could be argued, was very much in the public interest.”