WikiLeaks suspect Bradley Manning may face death penalty

A scandal is gathering pace about Bradley Manning, a suspect in the WikiLeaks case, who is accused of downloading classified government files that are believed to be the source of thousands of documents release by WikiLeaks. Manning is charged with treason and thus may face death penalty.

For the last nine months Manning has been kept in a six square meter cell at the Marine Corps base outside Washington. He is not allowed to go out for walks and is forced to sleep naked. He rarely meets his lawyer and relatives.

The 23-year-old Bradley Manning was arrested in May, 2010 on suspicion of leaking classified information to WikiLeaks, including a video showing a deadly 2007 U.S. helicopter attack in Baghdad that claimed the lives of several civilians, including two photographers working for the Reuters news agency.

Manning is scheduled to go on trial this May. But it is already clear that the verdict is going to be tough, an expert Sergei Sokolov said in an interview with the VOR:

“This kind of a decision is never made relying on the Constitution only. This is a matter of agreement between the court and the Pentagon. It is difficult to predict anything but I think Manning will be sentenced to life in prison.”

In Washington they think that Manning`s guilt is already proven. But some experts still wonder how an ordinary soldier could gain access to classified files. Sergei Sokolov thinks that Manning was just a pawn in a big political game:

“It seems to me that what they release on the WikiLeaks and other web sites is simply some kind of clandestine game between different opposing groups. But this makes us good for we, ordinary citizens, thus have a chance to know the truth.”

Many people have recently gathered near the Pentagon building to protest against Manning`s arrest and talk about human rights violations.

The State Department Spokesman Philip Crowley criticized how Manning was held at the base, calling it “ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid”. These words cost him his job. The next day the Pentagon denied all the allegations. President Barack Obama commented on the issue and said that all measures taken in regards to Manning were ‘adequate’. 

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