LONDON (Reuters) - WikiLeaks on Wednesday said a 35-year jail term handed down to U.S. soldier Bradley Manning for leaking classified files to the pro-transparency organization was a “strategic victory” as it meant he was eligible for parole in less than a decade.
“Significant strategic victory in Bradley Manning case,” WikiLeaks said on its official Twitter feed. “Bradley Manning now eligible for release in less than 9 years, 4.4 in one calculation.”
In a full statement issued later, WikiLeaks said that Manning’s trial and conviction had been “an affront to basic concepts of Western justice”.
“The only just outcome in Mr Manning’s case is his unconditional release, compensation for the unlawful treatment he has undergone, and a serious commitment to investigating the wrongdoing his alleged disclosures have brought to light,” WikiLeaks said.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has previously praised Manning as “the most important journalistic source that the world has ever seen”, but has neither confirmed nor denied whether Manning supplied WikiLeaks with classified documents, saying the group never revealed its sources.
“Mr Manning’s treatment has been intended to send a signal to people of conscience in the US government who might seek to bring wrongdoing to light,” WikiLeaks said in the same statement, saying the strategy had backfired. “As a result, there will be a thousand more Bradley Mannings.”
Reporting by Andrew Osborn and William James; Editing by Andrew Osborn