A military court judge has sentenced U.S. Army Pfc. Bradley Manning to 35 years in prison on Wednesday on charges related to his leaking a large store of classified documents to Wikileaks, according to a number of published and broadcast reports.
Manning had faced a maximum potential sentence of 90 years. The judge in his case reduced the maximum sentence from 136 years earlier this month.
Manning was also dishonorably discharged from the military. He will reportedly be credited with about three and a half years of time served in detention while awaiting trial.
In July, Manning was acquitted of the most serious charge against him, aiding the enemy, but found guilty on a series of lesser ones, including 10 he had pleaded guilty to earlier this year.
The documents Manning gave to Wikileaks included details of detainee abuse in Iraq as well as an airstrike in Baghdad that resulted in the deaths of civilians.
Manning, who worked as an intelligence analyst, was arrested in 2010 after giving Wikileaks the documents earlier that year and in 2009.
A change of tone?
In a pretrial statement, Manning said he believed releasing the information “could spark a domestic debate on the role of our military and foreign policy in general, as well as it related to Iraq and Afghanistan.”
But Manning reportedly expressed remorse at a sentencing hearing held last week, saying he was “sorry that my actions hurt people,” and “sorry that they hurt the United States.” However, Manning also said he believed at the time his actions would help people.
Wikileaks posted a statement in response, saying Manning’s court martial was “pursued with unprecedented prosecutorial zeal” and that his “apology was extracted by force.”
“In a just court the U.S. government would be apologizing to Bradley Manning,” Wikileaks added.
Manning attorney David Coombs is expected to hold a press conference later Wednesday, during which he will “respond to the sentence and discuss upcoming legal avenues of redress for his client,” according to a press release from the Bradley Manning Support Network, an organization that has supported his legal defense.
Manning’s defense will immediately pursue a clemency appeal, and the Support Network’s website will soon contain a copy of his application for a presidential pardon, according to the group.