Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Manning's new lawyer decries 35yr sentence

02 April 2014, 12:33

Army Private Chelsea Manning's 35-year sentence for leaking reams of classified information is out of proportion with the offenses for which she was convicted, the lawyer who will represent her in court-martial appeals said on Tuesday.

Manning began serving her confinement at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, in August for sending hundreds of thousands of secret military and diplomatic documents, plus some battlefield video, to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks. Manning retained attorney Nancy Hollander and her law partner Vincent Ward last month for the next phase of her military court proceedings.

Hollander pointed out in a telephone interview that Manning's sentence far exceeds the prison terms of 2½ years or less that US courts have given to others who disclosed government secrets to media.

"It's a very long sentence compared to other sentences for similar kinds of situations that I'm aware of, or even dissimilar situations like rape and murder," Hollander said.

Military prosecutors at Manning's trial called the former intelligence analyst an anarchist hacker and traitor who indiscriminately leaked information she had sworn to protect, knowing it would be seen by al-Qaeda. It was among the largest leaks of classified information in US history.

Manning supporters consider her a whistleblower who exposed US war crimes and diplomatic hypocrisy while working in Iraq.

‘Righteous case’

Manning, then known as Bradley Manning, was convicted in July of 20 crimes, including six violations of the Espionage Act, but was acquitted of the most serious charge, aiding the enemy. After sentencing, Manning declared a desire to live as a woman named Chelsea, having been diagnosed with gender dysphoria.

With good behaviour, the 26-year-old from Oklahoma could be released as early as February 2020, according to her trial attorney, David Coombs.

Hollander said it would be premature to discuss legal strategy, since she hasn't yet received a transcript of Manning's trial from which to begin crafting an appeal.

Nevertheless, "I know the issues that I believe are some of the main issues that will come up," Hollander said. Beside the sentence length, she said the case raises issues "big issues" about freedom of information and why the government keeps certain things secret.

"It's the kind of work we do, and it's a righteous case," Hollander said.

Hollander's background includes national security and civil-rights issues. She currently represents two Guantanamo Bay detainees in US Military Commissions proceedings, including Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, accused of orchestrating the 2000 al-Qaeda attack on the USS Cole in Yemen.

Hollander has no military court experience but her partner Ward is a former Navy prosecutor.

Manning can't file an appeal until Major General Jeffrey Buchanan, commander of the Military District of Washington, DC, has finalised the trial findings. Coombs has asked Buchanan to reverse the convictions and 35-year sentence.

Coombs is not representing Manning in appeals but is helping her pursue a legal name change and hormone replacement therapy in prison.

WikiLeaks' publication of diplomatic cables, warzone logs and videos embarrassed the US government and its allies. US officials warned of dire consequences in the days immediately after the first disclosures in July 2010, but a Pentagon review later suggested those fears might have been overblown.

- AP


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Shakila Alivitsa
Advice from a young married Kenya...

I was just going to get water in the office kitchen and thought a simple hi was fine until I ended up in an hour long conversation with someone. Read more...

Submitted by
Shakila Alivitsa
Helping you find the type of man ...

To put it simply, you can’t go looking for fish in a meat market; you have to go to a fish market. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
Decision to leave ODM for Jubilee...

The decision to leave ODM for Jubilee is final, an MP has said. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
STATEMENT: Uhuru on Mandera attac...

President Uhuru Kenyatta speaks to Kenyans after Mandera Shabaab attacks leave 12 dead. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
Mudavadi set for 2 month long wes...

Musalia Mudavadi is set for western Kenya campaigns.

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
I need a miracle to win in 2017, ...

An MP says that he needs a miracle to win the 2017 elections but has not given up on victory despite the odds being against him. Read more...