A judge has sentenced Bradley Manning to 35 years in prison. He’s the U.S. Army soldier who leaked hundreds of thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks. Last month he was found guilty of most of the charges brought against him, although not of the charge of aiding the enemy.
Bradley Manning’s attorney schedules press conference
Today’s sentencing hearing took less than two minutes and brought to an end a years-long trial. David Coombs, the attorney who defended Manning, has planned a press conference for this afternoon. This is unusual because Coombs does not often address the media.
Protests have also been launched in cities across the nation today in response to Bradley Manning’s sentence.
Manning’s sentence handed down
The 35-year sentence the judge handed down today is just a fraction of what he could have faced. The maximum sentence, according to Tom McCarthy of The Guardian, was 90 years, and prosecutors pushed the judge for a minimum of 60 years for Bradley Manning. Captain Joe Morrow told the judge that a longer sentence would keep other soldiers from doing what Manning did.
His defense team requested a sentence of no more than 25 years, which would provide him with an opportunity to start anew after getting out of prison. Manning is currently 25 years old.
Manning’s sentence broken down
He must serve at least a third of his sentence before he is eligible for parole. That means the earliest when he could be out on parole is 2021, although his full sentence will not be complete until 2044.
He will receive credit for jail time already served during the trial process. He has 3.55 years of credit toward his 35-year prison sentence. Manning will also be dishonorably discharged from the military and loses all of his pay and allowances.
The ACLU responds to Bradley Manning’s sentence
The American Civil Liberties Union issued a response to Manning’s sentence. The organization said it is “seriously wrong” for a soldier who leaked information to the public to receive a far harsher punishment than those who “tortured prisoners and killed civilians.”
“A legal system that doesn’t distinguish between leaks to the press in the public interest and treason against the nation will not only produce unjust results, but will deprive the public of critical information that is necessary for democratic accountability,” the ACLU said in a statement. “This is a sad day for Bradley Manning, but it’s also a sad day for all Americans who depend on brave whistleblowers and a free press for a fully informed public debate.”