21st Aug 2012 1:50pm | By London correspondent
Filmmakers Michael Moore and Oliver Stone have defended Julian Assange, saying the Wikileaks boss is being persecuted by the US.
"Ecuador has acted in accordance with important principles of international human rights," the pair wrote of the Ecuadorian embassy's decision to grant Assange refuge in London, in a joint op-ed for the New York Times.
"Indeed, nothing could demonstrate the appropriateness of Ecuador’s action more than the British government’s threat to violate a sacrosanct principle of diplomatic relations and invade the embassy to arrest Mr. Assange."
In relation to the rape allegations against Assange, the directors wrote:
"Swedish authorities have traveled to other countries to conduct interrogations when needed, and the WikiLeaks founder has made clear his willingness to be questioned in London."
The pair also highlighted Ecuador's willingness to let Assange travel to Sweden if it received a pledge that he would not then be then handed over to the US, where he could face the death penalty for his leaks of diplomatic cables in 2011.
A lawyer for the two women who have accused Assange of sexually assaulting them said the idea that the Australian would be sent to the US was "absurd," insisting Assange needed to "face justice" in the Scandanavian country..
But Stone and Moore insisted that it seemed clear to them that the UK and Sweden intended to get Assange to the US.
"If Mr. Assange is extradited to the United States, the consequences will reverberate for years around the world," they wrote.
"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."
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