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30 Jul 2013 19:30
US soldier Bradley Manning. (AFP)
Military judge colonol Denise Lind on Tuesday found US soldier Bradley Manning not guilty of aiding the enemy – the most serious charge he faced for handling over documents to WikiLeaks.
She found him guilty of most of the other 20 criminal counts in the biggest breach of classified information in the nation's history.
The US government was pushing for the maximum penalty for what it viewed as a serious breach of national security, which included battlefield reports from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, while anti-secrecy activists praised Manning's action as shining a light on shadowy US operations abroad.
Army prosecutors contended during the court-martial that US security was harmed when the WikiLeaks anti-secrecy website published combat videos of an attack by an American Apache helicopter gunship, diplomatic cables and secret details on prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay that Manning provided the site while he was a junior intelligence analyst in Iraq in 2009 and 2010.
A crowd of about 30 Manning supporters had gathered outside Fort Meade ahead of the reading of the verdict.
Sentencing begins on Wednesday, which could see Manning sentenced to more than 100 years in prison. – Reuters
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