Bradley Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking thousands of sensitive government documents reflecting the real state of America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The man didn’t say a word when the court’s decision was announced by military judge Col. Denise Lind. Manning was quickly hustled out of the courtroom, while at least half a dozen spectators voiced their support.
“We’ll keep fighting for you, Bradley,” one exclaimed.
His defense attorney, David Coombs, later called the 25-year-old a “resilient young man who comforted the weeping members of his defense team after the sentencing”.
“You get this guy and he looks to me and he says, “It’s OK. It’s all right. Don’t worry about it. I know you did your best. It’s going to be OK. I’m going to be OK. I’m going to get through this,'” he said.
By the way, as part of the verdict, Pfc. Manning military rank was dismissed. The man will serve his prison sentence at the military’s detention facility at Fort Leavenworth, Kan, with the right of the first parole review after serving 10 years of his sentence.
According to ABC News, the attorney believes that his client could be eligible for parole after seven years because of the 1,294 days credited by the judge toward his sentence.
Manning has spent 1,182 days in jail before the judges delievered their final verdict on Wednesday. The leaker was also credited with 112 days for the treatment he received at the Marine brig in Quantico, Va.
Manning’s attorney told reporters that he intends to ask the convening authority in the case to reduce the sentence.
He also wants to send a special request to the secretary of the Army asking President Obama to pardon Manning or at least diminish his sentence to the time he has already spent in jail.
“The time to end Brad’s suffering is now,” Coombs announced at a news conference in Hanover, Md. “The time for the president to focus on protecting whistleblowers instead of punishing them is now. The time for the president to pardon PFC Manning is now.”
The attorney went on, reading a statement from the convict that will be included in the request to the president.
“I understand that my actions violate the law. It was never my intent to hurt anyone. I only wanted to help people. When I chose to disclose classified information, I did so out of a love for my country and a sense of duty for others,” Manning said in the statement.
Manning also admitted that if he is denied a pardon, “I will serve my time knowing that sometimes you have to pay a heavy price to live in a free society.”
The former Army intelligence analyst was convicted July 30. He was found guilty in 20 of the 22 charges he faced, mostly for espionage and fraud.
However, the man escaped the most serious allegations, aiding the enemy, which presupposes a life sentence.