Army judge to hand down Manning`s WikiLeaks sentence on Wednesday

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Army judge to hand down Manning`s WikiLeaks sentence on Wednesday
Published 20-08-2013, 18:06
The judge in the court-martial of Bradley Manning, the soldier convicted of giving classified US files to WikiLeaks, said on Tuesday she would sentence him on Wednesday morning at the earliest.

Judge Colonel Denise Lind gave her timetable for handing down a sentence in a brief court session as she began her deliberations on how long Manning should be in prison.

Manning, a 25-year-old private first class, faces up to 90 years behind bars for giving more than 700,000 classified files, battlefield videos and diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks, a pro-transparency website.

Manning, who was working as low-level intelligence analyst in Baghdad in 2010 when he handed over the documents, was convicted in July on 20 counts including espionage and theft. He was found not guilty on the most serious charge, aiding the enemy, which had carried a possible sentence of life in prison without parole.

Prosecutors on Monday argued for a minimum sentence of 60 years in prison. Defense lawyers have contended that Manning should get a lenient sentence, saying he was naive but well-intentioned.

US gov’t urges 60-year prison term for Manning as defense begs not to ‘rob him of youth’

The US prosecutors urged a military judge to sentence Bradley Manning to 60 years in prison as the leaker "deserves to spend the majority of his remaining life" in custody.

Bradley Manning, 25, was convicted guilty last month of leaking 700,000 classified US documents to Wiki Leaks. He was found guilty of 20 counts, seven under the Espionage Act, but acquitted of the most serious charge of aiding the enemy.

The young man was working as a low-level intelligence analyst in Baghdad in 2010 when he committed the largest unauthorized release of secret documents in US history, catapulting pro-transparency website and its founder, Julian Assange, into the international spotlight.

"Perhaps his biggest crime was that he cared about the loss of life and that he couldn't ignore it," defense attorney David Coombs said during closing arguments of the sentencing part of Manning's court martial at Fort Meade, Maryland.

The defense team didn’t suggest any particular sentence, but urged a military judge not to exceed the jail term over 25 years as the documents would have been automatically declassified anyway after this time.

They also noted that Manning had leaked the information in an attempt to end the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"As naive as that belief may be, it was a sincere belief," he said "And this is the person the government wants to give 60 years.”

But the prosecutors stated that the soldier’s crimes were "egregious enough to warrant 60 years" and that "the United States doesn’t make such requests lightly”. "Bradley Manning deserves to spend the majority of his life in prison”.

Manning faces a maximum possible sentence of 90 years in prison, although few military experts believe he will be sentenced to the full amount.

The soldier is expected to be sentenced in the next few days, possibly as soon as Tuesday.

Lawyers for Bradley Manning ask judge not to 'rob him of his youth'

Attorneys for Bradley Manning, the soldier found guilty of turning over 700,000 classified US files to WikiLeaks, called on a military judge on Monday to sentence him to a term that "doesn't rob him of his youth," rather than the 60 years urged by prosecutors.

Manning, 25, was working as a low-level intelligence analyst in Baghdad in 2010 when he committed the largest unauthorized release of secret documents in US history, catapulting pro-transparency website WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange, into the international spotlight.

"Perhaps his biggest crime was that he cared about the loss of life and that he couldn't ignore it," defense attorney David Coombs said during closing arguments of the sentencing part of Manning's court martial at Fort Meade, Maryland.

"This court has had a year and half to see the conduct of PFC Manning. He's a little geeky at times. But he's caring, he's compassionate," Coombs said. "This is a young man who is capable of being redeemed. We should not rob him of his youth."

Earlier on Monday, prosecutor Captain Joe Morrow told Judge Colonel Denise Lind, "He betrayed the United States."

"For that betrayal he deserves to spend the majority of his remaining life in prison," Morrow said.

In July, Lind found the Army private first class guilty of 20 criminal charges including espionage, which carry a possible prison sentence of up to 90 years. She found him not guilty of the most serious charge, aiding the enemy, which could have carried a penalty of life in prison without parole.

 

Voice of Russia

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