Filmmakers Michael Moore and Oliver Stone have applauded officials in Ecuador for granting WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's request for political asylum in a new opinion piece.
Assange has been fighting extradition to Sweden, where he is accused of sexually assaulting two women, for several weeks over fears his transfer could lead to his deportation to the U.S. to face charges stemming from his website, which has leaked hundreds of top secret documents.
The setting of such a precedent should deeply concern everyone, admirers of WikiLeaks or not
He has been hiding out at the Ecuador Embassy in London since June, but last week the country's Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino granted Assange asylum, prompting Moore and Stone, who previously signed a petition on behalf of the journalist's freedom, to hail the decision in a new article for the New York Times.
The letter, published on Tuesday, reads, "We have spent our careers as filmmakers making the case that the news media in the United States often fail to inform Americans about the uglier actions of our own government...
"Since WikiLeaks' founding, it has revealed the 'Collateral Murder' footage that shows the seemingly indiscriminate killing of Baghdad civilians by a United States Apache attack helicopter; further fine-grained detail about the true face of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars; United States collusion with Yemen's dictatorship to conceal our responsibility for bombing strikes there... and much more...
"If Mr Assange is extradited to the United States, the consequences will reverberate for years around the world. Mr Assange is not an American citizen, and none of his actions have taken place on American soil. If the United States can prosecute a journalist in these circumstances, the governments of Russia or China could, by the same logic, demand that foreign reporters anywhere on earth be extradited for violating their laws.
The setting of such a precedent should deeply concern everyone, admirers of WikiLeaks or not".