Documentary filmmaker Michael Moore has a reputation for being a rabble-rouser. So it’s not surprising that he would go out of his way to support one of his kind.
Moore, the man behind Bowling for Columbine and Fahrenheit 9/11, among other documentaries, has offered to pay $20,000 of the bail for WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange, who is being held in a British prison on Swedish sex-crimes allegations. Courts granted Assange bail today with stringent conditions, like surrendering his passport and wearing an electronic tag.
(See TIME’s exclusive interview with Julian Assange.)
In a witness statement, posted on his website, Moore writes:
I support Julian, whom I see as a pioneer of free speech, transparent government and the digital revolution in journalism. … What do we do with someone who informs the authorities — and in this case it is the free people in a democracy who are the “authorities” — that a crime has been committed? Do we arrest HIM? Do we try to shut his mouth? … He should be thanked and honored, not abused and jailed. It dishonours this court to be used in this way, holding this man without bail. Julian has made the world, and my country in particular, a safer place.
He also assures the court that Assange would not flee the country, as doing so would damage his reputation.
(Could Julian Assange be TIME’s Person of the Year?)
It’s unclear whether Assange will accept Moore’s money; the filmmaker is one of many high-profile names offering to pay up. Meanwhile, though Assange has been granted bail, Reuters reports he will have to stay in jail while the prosecution appeals the decision.