Patch Adams, MD, the clown doctor portrayed by Robin Williams in the eponymous 1998 film, has joined several dozen prominent figures of the American Left in asking Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa to grant WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange political asylum.
Dr. Adams and the other letter signers are concerned that if Mr. Assange is extradited to Sweden, he will be imprisoned and re-extradited to the United States, where he’s liable receive the same treatment as alleged leaker Private Bradley Manning. That includes “repeated and prolonged solitary confinement, harassment by guards, and humiliating treatment such as being forced to strip naked and stand at attention outside his cell.” Many think the U.S. government has an indictment prepared already.
Other letter signers include the directors Michael Moore, Danny Glover and Oliver Stone; writers Naomi Wolf, Noam Chomsky, Chris Hedges and Glenn Greenwald; pundit Bill Maher, and other activists, whistleblowers and professors.
Ecuador is a strategic option for Mr. Assange right now because President Correa desperately needs to shore up his free press bona fides. After winning two high profile libel lawsuits earlier this year, President Correa pardoned the journalists under international pressure. He has been interviewed by Mr. Assange and publicly praised WikiLeaks.