French Justice Minister Christiane Taubira stresses it's not her decision
"I wouldn't be surprised. It's a possibility," she says
France recently summoned U.S. ambassador after reports U.S. spied on Presidents
French Justice Minister Christiane Taubira said Thursday she “wouldn’t be surprised” if France decided to offer asylum to Edward Snowden and Julian Assange.
Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, has been holed up in London’s Ecuadorian Embassy for more than two years to avoid extradition to Sweden, where prosecutors want to question him about 2010 allegations that he raped one woman and sexually molested another.
Snowden, a former U.S. government contractor, has remained in Russia since exposing widespread federal surveillance programs.
“If France decides to offer asylum to Edward Snowden and Julian Assange, I wouldn’t be surprised. It’s a possibility,” Taubira told CNN affiliate BFMTV.
She stressed it wasn’t her decision, but that of the French Prime Minister and President.
On Wednesday, France summoned the U.S. ambassador for a meeting in the wake of reports that the United States spied on French President François Hollande and his two predecessors – despite France being a close ally.
WikiLeaks has published what it said were U.S. National Security Agency reports about secret communications of the last three French presidents between 2006 and 2012.
France won’t tolerate “any action jeopardizing its security and the protection of its interests,” the country’s Defense Council said in a statement Wednesday. But it suggested it was already well aware of the spying allegations.
“These unacceptable facts already resulted in clarifications between France and the United States” in 2013 and 2014, the Defense Council said.
“Commitments were made by the American authorities,” the council said. “They must be recalled and strictly respected.”
CNN’s Margot Haddad, Laura Smith-Spark and Jethro Mullen contributed to this report.