Fort Meade, MD, United States (4E) – A military judge sentenced Army private Bradley Manning to 35 years imprisonment on Wednesday for passing 750,000 classified documents and videos to WikiLeaks.
Army Col. Denise Lind also demoted Manning from private first class to private and ordered him to be dishonorably discharged with pay and benefits forfeited.
Manning did not show any emotion and never said a word after the sentence was read at a courtroom in Fort Meade capping the trial of the soldier who made the biggest leak of classified materials in Army history.
The 25-year-old native of Oklahoma will serve 1,294 days less of the 35-year sentence at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas as the time he spent from his arrest in 2010 until Wednesday will be deducted from the 35 years. He is expected to be eligible for parole after completing a third of the sentence.
The soldier has the option to appeal the sentence, which is expected to take years, or to ask for clemency from the army.
Prosecutors had sought a 60-year sentence and his conviction last month from 20 of 22 charges carried a maximum 90-year sentence. Manning also faced a life sentence from the most serious charge of aiding the enemy, but Lind dismissed it at the start of his trial.
Defense attorney David Coombs requested the court martial to give a sentence that will allow Manning to have a life.
The American Civil Liberty Union (ACLU) was dismayed with the sentence. Ben Wizner, director of ACLU’s Speech, Privacy and Technology Project said a soldier who shared information with the press and public is being punished more harshly than soldiers who tortured prisoners or killed civilians.