Manning cleared of 'aiding the enemy'

Manning cleared of 'aiding the enemy'
Wed Jul 31, 2013 10:05:48

Bradley Manning, the source of the massive trove of secret disclosures in the anti-secrecy organization WikiLeaks would face a possible maximum sentence of 136 years in military jail in the US.

Manning was convicted on Tuesday of 20 charges in total, including theft and computer fraud but was found not guilty on the most serious charge of "aiding the enemy."

The judge in the court-martial, Col. Denise R. Lind, convicted Private Manning of six counts of violating the Espionage Act of 1917 and most of the other crimes he was charged with. He faces a theoretical maximum sentence of 136 years in prison, although legal experts said the actual term was likely to be much shorter.

Manning, 25, had admitted leaking thousands of classified documents to Wikileaks but said he did so to spark a debate on US foreign policy.

The leak is considered the largest ever of secret US government files.

Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, said the conviction of Manning on spying charges is a "dangerous precedent."

Speaking from the Ecuadorean embassy in London, Assange said, "This has never been a fair trial."

"Bradley Manning isn't guilty of anything in that he's actually very heroic for demanding government transparency and accountability and exposing the American people and the rest of the world to the crimes committed by the American government," he said.

Assange said the only victim in the case had been the US government's "wounded pride."

He said that there were two appeals within the US justice system as well as the Supreme Court.

"WikiLeaks will not rest until he is free," Assange said.


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