US soldier Bradley Manning sentenced to 35 years in prison over WikiLeaks case

US soldier Bradley Manning has been jailed for 35 years in a sentencing hearing that follows the Private being found guilty of handing over 70,000 secret government documents to WikiLeaks over three years ago.

Manning was found guilty of almost all the charges levelled against him back in July under the Espionage Act, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and the code of military justice.

A credit of three and a half years, or 1,000 days, will be taken off his 35-year sentence, as well as 112 days as a recompense for the harsh conditions of his initial imprisonment.

The BBC reports he could be eligible for parole in as little as 11 years, which is a stark departure from the 60-year sentence and $100,000 [£63,743] fine that prosecutors had asked to be imposed.

During the original case back in July, Manning was found guilty of seven out of eight espionage charges, five charges of theft, two computer fraud charges, five military counts of violating a lawful general regulation, and one of wanton publication of intelligence on the Internet. The not guilty charges related to aiding the enemy and unauthorised possession of information relating to national defence.

The WikiLeaks source was originally arrested in Iraq in 2010 for handing over thousands of battlefield report and diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks. WikiLeaks issued a response via its Twitter account that called the sentence a “significant strategic victory” for the group.

After the verdict had been read by Army Colonel Denise Lind, various supporters of Manning yelled “we’ll keep fighting for you, Bradley”, and “you’re our hero” according to The Verge.

Earlier in the hearing a statement from Manning had told the court in Fort Meade, Maryland that “the last three years have been a learning experience for me”.

A military district commissioner will undertake a review of both the verdict and sentence and the Army Court of Criminal Appeals will also take a routine look at the case. Manning also has the chance to petition the court for lenience during this process.

Image Credit: Flickr (TruthOut.org)