This Thursday, Feb. 28, from 9:30am in the courtroom at Ft. Meade, MD, Army Private First Class Bradley Manning is expected to publicly explain his reasons for releasing classified information through WikiLeaks.
This will be only the second time that Manning has testified in open court since his arrest in May 2010. Manning first testified in court at a per-trial hearing in December 2012. At that time, military Judge Col. Denise Lind ruled staff at the Quantico Marine Brig in Virginia subjected Manning to unlawful pretrial punishment in violation of Article 13 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).
Manning’s testimony this Thursday will speak to larger issues affecting his case as a whole, and expands upon a plea proffering responsibility for releasing information with noble motive, while contesting the most serious charges. Spectators in the courtroom earlier this week got a brief preview of Manning’s statement, which included reference to a pivotal incident in Iraq that caused Manning to question the military’s methods there, in addition to a general statement that he’d hoped releasing information would ‘spark a domestic debate on the role of our military and foreign policy in general.’ His testimony will consist partially of reading from a written statement, in addition to taking questions from the Judge.
This momentous week in court follows the largest worldwide day of activism supporting the WikiLeaks soldier thus far. On February 23, more than 70 cities demonstrated for Manning’s 1,000th day in prison, across the U.S. and on five continents altogether. Yesterday, Judge Lind rejected Manning’s bid to dismiss all charges due to the government’s violations of his right to a speedy trial under Rule for Court Martial (RCM) 707.
While transcripts from the proceedings are not made immediately public, the proceedings on Thursday are open for the public and journalists to attend. Contact us for more information about attending the proceedings, or if you wish to schedule an interview with a Support Network spokesperson.
Manning’s case has been shrouded in secrecy by the military. On Wednesday, the Pentagon released 84 pretrial documents, bowing to public records requests by civil rights and news organizations. The documents are the first of about 500 that the Pentagon said it will release in response to the requests.