Thursday, March 03, 2011

New charges mean Wikileaks source Manning could face the death penalty

Pfc. Bradley Manning, who is accused of downloading and giving thousands of documents to whistle-blower site WikiLeaks, could face the death penalty, based on new charges filed Wednesday, March 2.

Among the 22 new charges filed by the Army on Wednesday include "aiding the enemy," a capital offense that has the potential of a death sentence. According to MSNBC, military prosecutors have recommended that if convicted on that charge, Manning be sentenced to life in prison. The presiding military judge has the authority, however, to ignore the prosecutor's recommendations.

Manning's lawyer, Lieutenant Colonel David Coombs, wrote blog post that outlines Article 104, which is the one relating to the charge of "aiding the enemy." According to a separate blog post at the site, the additional charges may never reach Manning's court martial. He said:
Ultimately, the Article 32 Investigating Officer will determine which, if any, of these additional charges and specifications should be referred to a court-martial.
Julian Assange, Wikileaks chief, is currently awaiting appeal of his extradition ruling in the U.K. He has previously denied knowing Manning.

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