U.S. soldier, Bradley Manning, convicted of biggest classified data’s breach in nation’s history, got sentenced to about thirty-five years in military prison this Wednesday.
Manning faced till ninety years for revealing above 0.7M classified files, diplomatic cables and battlefield videos to the website WikiLeaks, for a case which has commanded the international attention from the year 2010.
Judge, hearing the court-martial of Manning, Col. Denise Lind, did ignore the call of prosecutors for one sixty-year sentence though did not yield to the defense lawyers asking her that she shouldn’t rob Manning of youth.
Manning happened to be working as analyst of intelligence of low-level in Baghdad at the time he did hand over documents, that catapulted WikiLeaks as well as Julian Assange, its founder, into international spotlight.
During July, Lind did find Manning guilty for twenty criminal counts that included theft and espionage, but not aiding enemy, most serious of charges, which carried possible life sentence in prison with no parole.
Classified material which shocked many over the world also included gunsight video of 2007 of Apache helicopter of US firing at the suspected insurgents within Baghdad. Among dozen fatalities happened to be 2 Reuters staff of news, and WikiLeaks did dub this footage as “Collateral Murder.”
This case also highlighted difficulty in keeping secrets within this Internet age. This raised many strong passions for U.S. government’s part, which said that Manning put the lives of Americans at risk, as well as the advocates of anti-secrecy, who maintained that Manning was quite justified in having that information released.
One rights group in US said that Manning needs to be one candidate for Nobel Peace Prize this year.
Trial of Manning at Maryland, Fort Meade, home of National Security Agency, tends to be winding down while US continues seeking Edward Snowden’s return. Former contractor of NSA, who disclosed the details of the secret programs of US which also included monitoring Internet and telephone traffic of the Americans, is given the temporary asylum within Russia.
Defense of Manning argued that it was his aim to spark broader debate regarding role of military of US and make the Americans quite aware of nature of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
According to the defense testimony, the military supervisors did ignore the erratic behavior that was on Manning’s part that included attempting to grab gun during one counseling session.
The defense attorneys argued that these actions showed that slightly built, gay, Manning, who was isolated increasingly while being deployed in Iraq, hadn’t been fit to perform duty overseas.
Lind reduced the sentence of Manning by 112 days during one pretrial hearing, because of the harsh treatment he received after he was arrested in 2010. Most likely, he would be imprisoned in U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Kansas, Fort Leavenworth.
Manning did plead guilty to the lesser charges this year, though the military prosecutors kept on doing their efforts for convicting him on some more serious issues.
The previous week, Manning did apologize to court for all what he did. He said, “I understand I must pay a price for my decisions.”
Bradley Manning Support Network, one group backing this soldier, said that it plans in seeking clemency from the Army officials following the sentencing. David Coombs, Manning’s attorney, will also ask for pardon from the President of US, it said.