Bradley Manning faces charges for leaking classified military information. Charges that include aiding the enemy which carries a maximum of life behind bars.
Pfc. Bradley Manning, the Army private accused of sending hundreds of classified military documents to the website WikiLeaks has had his potential sentence reduced by military judge Colonel Denise Lind during a pretrial hearing at Fort Meade. CBS News reports that Col. Lind ruled that Manning had “suffered illegal pretrial punishment” over the last 9 months while being held in a Marine Corps brig in Quantico, Virginia. Manning was awarded a total 112 days off any prison sentence he may receive if convicted.
The judge said in her ruling that the confinement was “more rigorous than necessary,” and that the conditions of his confinement “became excessive in relation to legitimate government interests.” Manning had been confined, sometimes without clothing, to a 6-by-8-foot windowless cell for 23 hours a day. Authorities at the brig testified that Manning was classified as a “suicide risk,” and that they were “only trying to keep him from hurting himself and others.”
Manning, who faces 22 charges, is back at Fort Meade for a 4 day pretrial hearing which will include arguments concerning whether testimony as to his motivation behind the leaking of classified documents should be allowed at trial. The prosecution asserts that his motives are not relevant and that he leaked intelligence knowing that it would be seen by US enemies, specifically al Qaeda. However, his defense attorney, David Coombs argues that,
Barring such evidence would cripple the defense’s ability to argue that Manning leaked only information that he believed couldn’t hurt the United States or help a foreign nation … Manning has offered to take responsibility for the leaks in a pending plea offer but he still could face trial on charges that include aiding the enemy.
It has been alleged that Pfc. Manning told a confidant who has since become an informant, that he leaked the classified materials because he wants the US people to “see the truth,” and that “information should be free.”
Do you think motive should be included in criminal cases such as these?
Do you think that Pfc. Bradley Manning is a “good” man for leaking the documents?