Bradley Manning Sentenced to 35 Years
The 25-year-old was convicted of multiple charges of Espionage Act violations for disseminating documents while serving as an Army intelligence officer.
Judge Denise Lind announced the decision in a hearing which lasted about two minutes saying that Manning was “dishonorably discharged." Military prosecutors had asked for a 60-year sentence for the whistleblower. During the hearing Manning addressed the court and apologized for his actions saying he was “sorry he hurt the United States” and asked for leniency.
Manning will be required to serve one third of his sentence before eligible for parole minus three and a half years for time already served for his “inhuman treatment” in Quantico brig in 2010-2011.
As Manning was led out of the court, supporters shouted, “We’ll keep fighting for you, Bradley,” and “you’re a hero!” according to reports.
Human rights advocates including Amnesty International and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) condemned the decision:
“When a soldier who shared information with the press and public is punished far more harshly than others who tortured prisoners and killed civilians, something is seriously wrong with our justice system,” ACLU’s Ben Wizner said, as reported by Washington Post
Manning came to the public’s intention in 2010 when he was suspected of leaking a video of the 2007 Apache helicopter attack that killed several Iraqi civilians. He was subsequently charged with leaking the “War Logs” – a series of US military battlefield reports from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Manning’s lawyers said he had become disillusioned by what he saw in Iraq and released the information to enhance the public’s understanding of the war.