Bradley Manning Sentenced To 35 Years In Prison

Bradley Manning has been sentenced to 35 years in jail for providing over 700,000 official US military secrets, including documents, videos and diplomatic cables, to anti-secrecy organisation Wikileaks.     

In the sentence handed down by military judge Colonel Denise Lind, 25-year-old Manning will also have his rank demoted from private first class to private E1, and will later be dishonourably discharged. Since Manning will be eligible (under military law) to apply for parole upon completion of one-third of his sentence, which will be reduced by three years based on the time he has spent in incarceration already, it’s possible that he could be out of jail in nine years.

Manning was acquitted of aiding the enemy in late July, which was the most serious charge he was facing and could have landed him a life sentence. He instead was found guilty of six counts of espionage and mishandling classified material, and prosecutors were pushing for a 60 year sentence.

Manning’s defence team announced that they would apply to President Obama for a pardon. Defence Lawyer David Coombs read a statement from Manning addressed to the President:  “If you deny my request for a pardon I will serve my time knowing that sometimes you have to pay a heavy price to live in a free society.”

Wikileaks founder and vocal supporter of Manning’s campaign Julian Assange told ABC News Breakfast today “This is a really important tactical victory for his defence team, his campaign team and his support community. But that said, Bradley Manning shouldn’t be doing any time in prison at all.” Speaking from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he remains holed up to avoid facing extradition to Sweden on sexual assault allegations, Assange accused the US government of trying to make an example of Manning. “It was trying to smash a nut with a sledge hammer. It abused the court process, it abused the detention process, It was designed to act as a general deterrent from anyone else revealing information about the US government. That general deterrent, it has failed. The attack against Bradley Manning has failed.”