WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has failed in a bid to win asylum in France.

Assange wrote a letter to French President Francois Hollande published in Le Monde on Friday, appealing to France's history as a beacon for the repressed. He noted that WikiLeaks recently revealed that the U.S. National Security Agency spied on Hollande and his two predecessors.

Hollande quickly said "no" to the request. In a statement, his office noted that Assange is under a European arrest warrant and his life is not in imminent danger.

The exchange came after prominent French voices, including soccer legend Eric Cantona and economist Thomas Piketty, appealed for France to grant Assange haven.

Assange is living in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden for questioning about alleged sexual assaults.