Wikileaks: Suspect Faces 22 New Charges

March 3rd, 2011 by Staff

Bradley Manning served in Iraq

BBC — The US Army has charged a soldier held in connection with the leak of US government documents published by the Wikileaks website with 22 extra counts, reports the BBC. The new charges against Private First Class Bradley Manning include aiding the enemy, a capital offence, but prosecutors have said they will not seek the death penalty.

The intelligence analyst is being held at a military jail in Virginia. He is suspected of leaking 620,000 diplomatic and military documents. Pte Manning, who joined the US military in 2007, was initially charged in May with 12 counts of illegally downloading and sharing a secret video of a US military operation and secret military and diplomatic documents and cables.

The new charges accuse the soldier of using unauthorised software on government computers to download classified information and to make intelligence available to “the enemy”. Under the US Uniform Code of Military Justice, the offence is punishable by death. But in a news release, the US Army said prosecutors would not seek the death penalty, although Pte Manning could face life in prison if tried and convicted.

Pte Manning’s lawyer David Coombs said the soldier’s defence team had been preparing for the possibility of additional charges over the past few weeks. Pte Manning is being held in solitary confinement in a high-security military prison at Quantico marine base, Virginia. Coombs has said he expects a hearing to determine whether the military has enough evidence to try the soldier to be held in May or June.

In recent months, Wikileaks has published troves of documents it titled the Iraq War Logs, the Afghan War Diary, and reams of secret US state department cables spanning five decades. The site has also released a cable titled Reykjavik 13 that summarised US diplomats’ discussions with Icelandic officials about that country’s financial troubles, and a leaked video of a 2007 helicopter attack in Iraq that killed two Reuters news service employees.

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