BRADLEY MANNING SENTENCED TO 35 YEARS IN PRISON FOR LEAKING SENSITIVE MILITARY DOCUMENTS – A military court has sentenced Private Bradley Manning to 35 years imprisonment for leaking over 700,000 military documents to WikiLeaks.org; all of which were deemed ‘classified’ by the United States Government.
Manning faced a possible 90 years behind bars however the judge at the military court handed down a sentence by nearly one third and according to Manning’s lawyers he could be freed after serving just 10 years of this sentence.
Manning has ready been in custody for three and a half years and this amount of time will be taken off the 35 year sentence and will be eligible for parole after serving 10 years.
Private Bradley Manning, a low level intelligence analyst leaked some 700,000 classified military documents to WikiLeaks.org during his time serving in the war against Iraq in Baghdad. Prosecutors labeled Manning a traitor whose actions put civilians, military personnel and intelligence sources a great risk.
During last month’s trial Manning was found guilty of no less than 20 counts of espionage, theft and computer fraud; charges which could have resulted in being imprisoned for 90 years. However Manning was cleared of a number of charges including ‘aiding the enemy’.
At the trial Manning did apologise for his actions and insisted he had no intention of putting anyone in harm’s way; he simply wanted to expose the U.S Military’s bloodlust and human rights abuses.
The sentencing hearing yesterday at Fort Meade, Maryland resulted in the 35 year sentence with Manning showing no reaction as the judge handed down his sentence. Manning has also been stripped of rank and dishonourably discharged as a member of the U.S Armed Forces.
The court gallery was packed with reporters and supporters of manning with slogans on their T shirts with just one word ‘TRUTH’ emblazoned across them.
There are many in the public who feel that Manning shouldn’t have stood trial at all for he simply uncovered the dirty truth that the U.S Government and the military attempted to cover up. After the sentencing Amnesty International stepped into the spotlight by creating an online petition that is asking President Barrack Obama to pardon Bradley Manning; a request that will no doubt fall on deaf ears regardless if it produces mass support.
The old saying ‘The truth shall set you free’ certainly wasn’t played out in the sentencing hearing and it is another example of how Governments around the world attempt to cover up their atrocities and silence those who would come forth and reveal the untainted truth.
Has justice been served? The prosecution could produce no evidence that anyone was directly harmed due to Manning’s actions; it appears this is more a case of someone embarrassing the U.S Government at the highest levels and again exposing the dirty truth that so many of them wanted to keep a secret.
Do you think justice has been served or is Manning merely being punished for exposing and embarrassing the U.S Government? Please leave your comments below.