| FORT MEADE, Md.
FORT MEADE, Md. Aug 21 Bradley Manning, the
U.S. soldier convicted of the biggest breach of classified data
in the nation's history, will be told on Wednesday how much of
his life will be spent in a military prison.
The 25-year-old private first class could face up to 90
years for turning over more than 700,000 classified files,
battlefield videos and diplomatic cables to the pro-transparency
website WikiLeaks, in a case that has commanded international
attention since 2010.
The judge hearing Manning's court-martial, Colonel Denise
Lind, is due to read his sentence at 10 a.m. EDT (1400 GMT).
Prosecutors have asked for 60 years, while defense attorneys
this week pleaded with Lind not to "rob him of his youth."
Manning was working as a low-level intelligence analyst in
Baghdad when he handed over the documents, catapulting WikiLeaks
and its founder, Julian Assange, into the international
In July, Lind found Manning guilty of 20 criminal counts
including espionage and theft, but not of aiding the enemy, the
most serious charge, which carried a possible sentence of life
in prison without parole.
The classified material that shocked many around the world
included a 2007 gunsight video of a U.S. Apache helicopter
firing at suspected insurgents in Baghdad. Among the dozen
fatalities were two Reuters news staff, and WikiLeaks dubbed the
footage "Collateral Murder."
The case highlighted the difficulty of keeping secrets in
the Internet age. It raised strong passions on the part of the
U.S. government, which said Manning had put American lives at
risk, and anti-secrecy advocates, who maintained Manning was
justified in releasing the information.
A U.S. rights group has said Manning should be a candidate
for this year's Nobel Peace Prize.
Manning's trial at Fort Meade, Maryland, home of the
ultra-secret National Security Agency, is winding down as the
United States continues to seek the return of Edward Snowden.
The former NSA contractor who disclosed details of secret U.S.
programs that included monitoring the telephone and Internet
traffic of Americans, has been given temporary asylum in Russia.
The Guardian newspaper reported on Tuesday that British
authorities had forced it to destroy the materials leaked by
Manning's defense argued that his aim had been to spark a
broader debate on the role of the U.S. military and make
Americans aware of the nature of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
According to defense testimony, military supervisors ignored
erratic behavior on the part of Manning which included trying to
grab a gun during a counseling session.
Defense attorneys had argued that such actions demonstrated
that the slightly built Manning, who is gay and was increasingly
isolated while deployed to Iraq, had not been fit for duty
During a pretrial hearing, Lind reduced Manning's sentence
by 112 days because of harsh treatment after his arrest in 2010.
He likely will be imprisoned at the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks
at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
Manning pleaded guilty to lesser charges earlier this year,
but military prosecutors continued their efforts to convict him
on more serious counts.
Last week, Manning apologized to the court for what he had
done, saying: "I understand I must pay a price for my
The Bradley Manning Support Network, a group backing the
soldier, said in a statement it plans to seek clemency from Army
officials after sentencing. Manning's attorney David Coombs also
will ask for a pardon from President Barack Obama, it said.
(Editing by Scott Malone and Gunna Dickson)