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Greens deplore 35 year sentence for Bradley Manning

Media Release
Scott Ludlam 22 Aug 2013

The Greens believe that Private First Class Bradley Manning's trial and sentence sets very dangerous precedents for whistleblowers, journalists, publishers and democracy itself. 

"After more than three years in prison, initially in an animal cage and sometimes stripped naked, Bradley Manning has been sentenced for 35 years (with 1294 days credit) for telling the truth about dirty wars," said Senator Scott Ludlam, Australian Greens Communications spokesperson.

"Throughout, this extraordinarily brave young man of 25 has maintained his dignity. He has inspired many others, including Edward Snowden, and there will be more.

"I have joined many thousands of people around the world who believe that the public deserves the truth and whistleblowers deserve a fair trial. We have declared, "I am Bradley Manning" because we hope that we would also tell the truth about war crimes, abuse of power and human rights violation.

"Bradley Manning has not had a fair trial. Key documents were withheld from Manning and his defence team used by the prosecution and the trial entailed many closed sessions. The majority of court records have been kept secret, transcripts have not been made public requiring unofficial transcripts to be made and journalists have only been able to access parts of the trial.

"Manning's defence team wanted to call 48 witnesses but were allowed only 10. The prosecution produced 80 - 28 in person and 50 written statements, several in secret. The court ruled motive and the lack of actual damage as not relevant in the trial, pre-emptively eliminating defence key arguments.

"Bradley Manning has the support of many people and organisations around the world who will not stop campaigning on his behalf, among them the Centre for Constitutional Rights, Frontline and the Wikileaks publishing organisation.

"I wish to pay particular tribute to the work of Alexa O'Brien, one of the world's finest independent journalists who has diligently followed every step of Bradley Manning's trial, helping many around the world to understand its significance. Unfortunately, today's sentencing does not bring that work to a close, but merely starts another chapter to defend whistleblowers, journalists and publishers from persecution," Senator Ludlam concluded.

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