The court martial of US soldier Private Bradley Manning, accused of leaking US diplomatic cables to Wikileaks, came to an end today and the soldier was sentenced to 35 years in prison.
The judge ruled that Bradley Manning's prison sentence will be reduced by the time served in jail to date plus 112 days. He was arrested in 2010. The 112 days reduction is for the abusive treatment he was subjected to at the Marine Corps brig in Quantico, Va.
Manning was arrested for leaking more than 700,000 Iraq and Afghanistan battlefield reports and State Department diplomatic cables to the Wikileaks website in 2010 while working as an intelligence analyst in Iraq.
He also leaked video of a US helicopter attack in Baghdad in which at least nine people were killed, including a Reuters news photographer and his driver.
He was however found not guilty by Army Colonel Denise Lind of the most serious charge of "aiding the enemy," which would have resulted in life imprisonment.
Prosecutors asked for at least a 60-year prison term.
The prosecution said in his closing argument on Monday that a long prison sentence would dissuade other soldiers from following in Manning’s footsteps.
“There’s value in deterrence,” they said.
The defence suggested a prison term of no more than 25 years, so that Manning, 25, could rebuild his life. Defence attorney David Coombs asked for a sentence that “doesn’t rob him of his youth.”
Bradley Manning had recently apologised over the leaks. “I am sorry that my actions hurt people. I’m sorry that they hurt the United States,” Manning said.
The soldier said he understood what he was doing but that he did not believe at the time that leaking the classified information to the anti-secrecy website would cause harm to the US.
After the verdict, Bradley Manning was quickly ushered from the court. His supporters shouted that they would continue fighting for him and called him a hero.
with inputs from Agencies
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Updated Date: Aug 21, 2013 20:19:25 IST