3 December 2012, 22:37

Trial over Manning postponed again

Trial over Manning postponed again

The trial over US Private Bradley Manning, who has handed in several secret US military and diplomatic documents to the well-known WikiLeaks website, has been postponed till March 2013. Allegedly, this was done because the judge needs some time to get better acquainted with petitions that had been filed in by the sides in the process.

This is not the first time that Pentagon tries to postpone hearings over Manning’s case, which is most probably done as an attempt to put pressure on Manning. Moreover, there have been quite a few serious violations of the procedure of the investigation and the trial – but the US authorities seem to turn a blind eye on that.

Bradley Manning was arrested in Iraq about 2 years ago. Within all these 2 years, his lawyers have been asking his prosecutors to let them access several documents which they might have used for defending their client, but in vain – although the US’s basic laws include an allowance to make public any documents that may be used in a defendant’s favor.

Moreover, Manning’s lawyers claim that investigation of his case started only one year after his arrest.

There hardly may be any doubt that the US authorities are trying to punish Bradley Manning for assisting to WikiLeaks in publishing materials which crate a very unattractive image of the US military – like, for example, a video recording of US helicopters shelling Reuters’ journalists and civilians in Iraq.

The US authorities have laid 22 charges against him, including cooperation with the enemy. In the US, one found guilty of cooperating with the enemy may face the death penalty.

Manning’s lawyers have already announced that he is ready for a deal which his prosecutors had suggested to him – if he admits his guilt on at least 8 charges, he will be sentenced only to 16 years in prison. However, this looks to be not enough for the US authorities. They are trying other ways of putting pressure on him, like this postponing of the trial.

Bradley Manning has spent 9 months in a prison for military criminals in the city of Quantico. He has complained to the authorities that jailors in this prison had mistreated and humiliated him, and his complaints drew the attention of the entire world to this case. However, the US authorities are denying that he was mistreated. It looks as if they are not even afraid that this case may cause an international scandal. Well, small wonder – it is in the traditions of US authorities to ignore the opinion of the rest of the world.

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