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Manning's 35-Year Sentence Intended to be a Message to All Whistleblowers
WASHINGTON - August 21 - The judge in the court martial of Pfc. Bradley Manning, Col. Denise Lind, has sentenced the private to 35 years in prison. He will receive a dishonorable discharge, will forfeit his pay and benefits, and will be reduced in rank.
The sentence comes after Manning was convicted last month of 20 offenses, including six violations of the Espionage Act of 1917, as well as five counts of theft and computer fraud.
Defense attorney David Coombs had urged the court for a sentence of no more than 25 years in prison in consideration of time served, as well as his client's 112 days of punishment under illegal conditions at Quantico brig in Virginia.
It is the position of the Government Accountability Project (GAP) that this sentence, though not the 60+ year sentence that the prosecution had requested, is intended to be a message to all whistleblowers, present and future. Further, the sentence is excessive and unjust for the following reasons:
It has never been proven that Manning's conduct did harm to the US.
Manning informed the public of clear wrongdoing.
Manning suffered egregious and unlawful pretrial detention.
No individuals have been punished as a result of Manning's revelations despite clear atrocities.
"This was a show trial done largely in secret," stated GAP National Security & Human Rights Counsel Kathleen McClellan. "This case is of public interest, but the public has been kept in the dark through severely limited media access. America is better than secret courts."
GAP champions government and corporate accountability and transparency by advancing occupational free speech, defending whistleblowers, and empowering citizen activists. Since its founding in 1977, GAP has fought to make large bureaucratic institutions accountable through the effective exercise of conscience.