Prosecution and defense suggest Manning sentences | Americas| North and South American news impacting on Europe | DW | 19.08.2013
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Prosecution and defense suggest Manning sentences

US military prosecutors have called for a prison sentence of at least 60 years for Bradley Manning. The soldier's defense team countered that the Wikileaks informant should not be jailed for more than 25 years.

Lawyers on both sides of Bradley Manning's trial suggested sentences to the military tribunal on Monday. Manning leaked hundreds of thousands of classified documents to the WikiLeaks organization, he was convicted in July of a raft of espionage and theft charges that could carry a jail sentence of up to 90 years.

Chief prosecutor Captain Joe Morrow asked the judge to sentence Manning to 60 years behind bars.

"He's been convicted of serious crimes," Morrow said. "He betrayed the United States and for that betrayal, he deserves to spend the majority of his remaining life in containment."

Morrow did not say during his closing arguments why the prosecution was not pushing for the maximum 90 years.

Manning's legal team did not suggest a specific sentence, but argued that it should not exceed 25 years - Manning's current age - saying their client had acted out of a humane, if naive, desire to halt the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"Perhaps his biggest crime was that he cared about the loss of life and that he couldn't ignore it," defense counsel David Coombs said. "This court has had a year and a half to see the conduct of [Private First Class] Manning. He's a little geeky at times. But he's caring, he's compassionate. This is a young man who is capable of being redeemed. We should not rob him of his youth."

The judge, Colonel Denise Lind, said she would begin deliberating the punishment on Tuesday.

Manning was convicted in Fort Meade, Maryland, on July 30; he again took the stand last week and apologized, asking the judge for a chance to go to college and become a productive citizen.

In 2010, Manning provided the WikiLeaks organization with more than 700,000 classified documents. He also provided footage from a 2007 US helicopter attack in Baghdad that killed civilians including a Reuters news photographer and his driver. The material he provided helped catapult WikiLeaks and founder Julian Assange into the global spotlight.

msh/jm (AFP, AP, Reuters)