Bradley Manning trial date set for February 2013

WikiLeaks suspect faces charges that he ‘aided the enemy’ by leaking thousands of documents to the whistleblowing site – Published on The Guardian, by Ed Pilkington in New York, August 30, 2012.

… The soldier’s lawyers, led by David Coombs, want the army to release all 1,384 emails to them in hope they will provide information that will allowing them to challenge Manning’s ongoing incarceration on the grounds that he was subjected to cruel and unusual treatment during the 10 months he was held at Quantico.   A pre-trial hearing scheduled for 27 November will examine the issue. Manning’s lawyers claim he was held in solitary confinement and subjected to a harsh regime that included being stripped of his clothes at night.

So far, the prosecution has released only 684 of the emails – 600 of them as recently as this week. Lind announced on Wednesday that she would review the remaining 700 emails before deciding whether to disclose them to the defence.

The hearing in November will be Manning’s last real hope of avoiding many of the charges. Technically, Lind has the power to throw out the case in its entirety if she finds he was subjected to illegal pre-trial treatment.

The second pre-trial issue related to a YouTube video that Manning posted before his arrest, in which he discussed his daily life using sensitive words such as “top secret” and “classified”. When his superiors found out about the video in 2008, they put him through “corrective training” designed to reinforce the idea that he should not share classified information with anyone unauthorised to receive it. The prosecution want to present the video to the jury at next year’s court martial as a means of proving that Manning was fully aware of the consequences of making state secrets available on the internet.

The most serious charge against him is that he “aided the enemy”, in this case al-Qaida, by providing confidential documents to WikiLeaks. “The evidence shows the accused has knowledge that information posted on the internet is accessible to and sought after by the enemy,” prosecution lawyer Captain Angel Overgaard, told the hearing.

Lind ruled that Manning’s YouTube video would be admissible. (full text).

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