The source behind WikiLeaks’ massive expose of U.S. foreign policy has been in jail for close to three years.
PFC Bradley Manning has been in jail awaiting trial for nearly 1,000 days for exposing war crimes, corruption, and widespread abuse. When he returns to court in Fort Meade, MD, for a pretrial hearing from February 26 to March 1, Judge Denise Lind will rule on the defense’s motion to dismiss charges for lack of a speedy trial.
As defense lawyer David Coombs said in the motion, “PFC Manning’s statutory and constitutional speedy trial rights have been trampled upon with impunity.” In court, he laid out the ways in which the government has made an “absolute mockery” of Manning’s right to a speedy trial by violating the 5th and 6th Constitutional Amendments, Rule for Court Martial 707, and Uniform Code of Military Justice Article 10. Prosecutors were supposed to arraign Manning within 120 days but took well over 600. They’re also supposed to remain actively diligent throughout the proceedings, but Coombs has showed substantial periods of their inactivity and needless delay. Manning’s due process rights have been clearly violated, and the only legal remedy is to dismiss charges. Judge Lind could dismiss charges with prejudice, if she determines the government intentionally delayed Manning’s trial, which would set the young Army private free. She could also dismiss without prejudice, which would allow the government to simply retry the case and restart the speedy trial clock. If she dismisses the motion altogether, she will condone the government’s unconstitutional delays and the deprivation of Manning’s due process rights. Manning would then proceed to trial, currently scheduled to start June 3, 2013 — over three years after his arrest in May 2010.
We’ll also hear Manning’s updated plea offer, in which he’s expected to offer to plead guilty to several lesser-included offenses, which could carry a maximum punishment of 20 years in prison.
“This allows Bradley to accept responsibility for exposing these documents to public scrutiny, and debate the merits and impact of these releases, while fighting the most serious charges against him at court martial,” noted Jeff Paterson, project director of the Bradley Manning Support Network.
The government can still charge as planned, including using the Espionage Act and UCMJ Article 104, alleging Manning indirectly “aided the enemy” simply because he knew Al Qaeda could access WikiLeaks. By the time that pretrial hearing begins, Manning will have been in jail for over 1,000 days. In response to this historic abuse, supporters around the country and around the world are planning demonstrations, rallies, and marches on February 23. From California, to Florida, to Italy, to Germany, supporters of PFC Manning will make their protests known.
More information and updates @ bradleymanning.org