Wikileaks source Manning trial enters sentencing phase

The trial of American whistleblower Bradley Manning has entered its sentencing phase, which could mean spending up to 136 years behind bars for the Army soldier who has been convicted of 20 charges.

The sentencing hearing, which may last for weeks, started at the Fort Meade military base in Maryland on Wednesday. More than 20 witnesses are expected to be called for the hearing.

On Tuesday, Judge Col Denise Lind read aloud the verdicts, convicting Manning of 20 charges, six related to espionage, but acquitting him of the most serious charge of “aiding the enemy.”

The 25-year-old US Army private was arrested near Baghdad more than three years ago. At the time, he was working as an intelligence analyst.

He passed hundreds of thousands of battlefield reports and diplomatic cables to anti-secrecy website Wikileaks whose founder Julian Assange accused the US authorities of “national security extremism” after Manning’s conviction.

One of the released items was graphic footage of an American helicopter attack in 2007 that killed a dozen Iraqi civilians in capital Baghdad. One if the victims was a Reuters photographer.

The documents also included 470,000 reports on the war in Iraq and Afghanistan and 250,000 secure State Department cables between Washington and embassies around the world.

Ian Williams, a senior analyst from the Foreign Policy in Focus, earlier told Press TV that the case against Bradley Manning is politically motivated. He also believes that Manning is a martyr to the cause of the secret police state that followed 9/11.

“I think the judge’s verdict has been a very political one. He found Manning not guilty of aiding the enemy, of espionage for the enemy but then found him guilty on other charges,” he said.

The administration of President Barack Obama has prosecuted more whistleblowers than all other former administrations combined. The leaks by the prosecuted individuals disclosed war crimes, torture, acts of aggression as well as government waste, fraud, and abuse.

By Press TV

 

The Iran Project is not responsible for the content of quoted articles.