Bradley Manning was sentenced today to 35 years in prison on Wednesday for sending WikiLeaks sensitive government documents pertaining to America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Here’s what you need to know:
From the BBC:
The US soldier convicted of handing a trove of secret government documents to anti-secrecy website Wikileaks has been sentenced to 35 years in prison.
Pte First Class Bradley Manning, 25, was convicted in July of 20 charges against him, including espionage.
Last week, he apologised for hurting the US and for “the unexpected results” of his actions.
Prosecutors had asked for a 60-year sentence in order to send a message to future potential leakers.
Pte Manning will receive a credit against his sentence of about three and a half years, including time he has already served in jail and 112 days in recompense for the harsh conditions of his initial confinement.
He could be eligible for parole in about 11 years.
Reports the Huff Post:
Manning, 25, was not allowed to make a statement when his sentence was handed down by military judge Col. Denise Lind. Guards quickly hustled him out of the courtroom, while at least half a dozen spectators shouted their support.
“We’ll keep fighting for you, Bradley,” one exclaimed.
Manning was also dishonorably discharged and demoted from the rank of private first class to private. He was ordered to forfeit all pay and benefits.
Manning was convicted on July 30 on 19 counts, including six Espionage Act violations, for his role in the largest leak of classified information in U.S. history. The charges carried a maximum sentence of 90 years, and the prosecution had requested Manning serve 60.
WikiLeaks called the sentencing a’significant strategic victory’ on its twitter page:
The NYTimes provides some context behind the case and the sentencing:
The judge’s decision to impose a 35-year sentence roughly split the difference between what the prosecution had requested — 60 years — and the 20 years that Private Manning had exposed himself to when he pleaded guilty to a lesser version of the charges he was facing before the trial began. Under the military system, convicts are eligible for parole after serving a third of their sentences, and Private Manning is receiving 1,294 days credit — a little more than three years — for time already in custody and for a 112-day period in which the judge ruled he was mistreated during pretrial confinement.
There have been only a handful of previous convictions in cases involving leak accusations, resulting in sentences more in the range of probation to a few years in prison. Steven Aftergood, a government secrecy specialist with the Federation of American Scientists, said Colonel Lind’s sentence reflected how much Private Manning’s case — involving leaks of entire archives, not singular documents or pieces of information — differed from what had come before it.
“This is by far the longest sentence in a leak case,” Mr. Aftergood said. “It reflects the gravity of the case and the government’s perception of the damage that was done. Among other things, it is also the most voluminous leak ever, and also the broadest in scope including diplomatic, military and other records. So it was a qualitatively new kind of leak, and the government responded aggressively.”
Colonel Lind could have sentenced Private Manning, 25, to up to 90 years. There was no minimum sentence.
This story will be updated.