Bullied in jail, WikiLeaks source wins cut in sentence
10 January 2013
Lawyers for Private First Class Bradley Manning, the US soldier under trial as one of the key sources for Julius Assange's WikiLeaks, has been granted a 122-day reduction in any sentence might receive, on the ground that he was abused during his nine months' custody at Quantico, a Marine Corps prison in Virginia.
His lawyers in fact argued that his mistreatment should lead to the dismissal of the 22 charges against him; and the final verdict of a 122-day reduction left them disappointed.
The 24-year-old soldier was held in a windowless cell for 23 hours a day, kept under an intensive suicide watch regime involving constant surveillance, had all his possessions removed, and was sometimes stripped of his clothes - often in contravention to the professional medical opinion of psychiatrists.
At a hearing on Tuesday, Colonel Denise Lind, the military judge, agreed that the treatment was "more rigorous than necessary" but ruled that Pfc Manning should receive only a 112-day reduction on an eventual prison sentence.
If convicted of the most serious charge - aiding the enemy - the young soldier could life imprisonment.
David Coombs, Pfc Manning's defence attorney, argued earlier in the hearing that his client had carefully selected which documents to leak in order to ensure that the disclosures did not endanger US national security.