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Bradley Manning: aiding the enemy charge is 'ludicrous'

Today’s decision by a US military judge not to drop the charge accusing the US Private Bradley Manning of “aiding the enemy” is a ludicrous decision which “makes a mockery of the US military court system”, said Amnesty International.

To prove the charge that Manning has “aided the enemy,” the US government has to establish that he gave potentially damaging intelligence information to an enemy, and that he did so knowingly, with “general evil intent”.

The prosecution’s own witnesses have repeatedly told the court that they found no evidence that Manning was sympathetic towards al-Qaeda or other terrorist groups, that he had never expressed disloyalty to his country, and that they had no evidence that he had ties to any government other than his own.

If he is found guilty of the charge, he faces a possible life sentence in military custody with no chance of parole.

Amnesty International’s Senior Director of International Law and Policy Widney Brown said:

“The charge of ‘aiding the enemy’ is ludicrous.

“What’s surprising is that the prosecutors in this case, who have a duty to act in the interest of justice, have pushed a theory that making information available on the internet - whether through WikiLeaks, in a personal blog posting, or on the website of The New York Times - can amount to ‘aiding the enemy’.

“It’s abundantly clear that the charge of ‘aiding the enemy’ has no basis and the charge should be withdrawn. This makes a mockery of the US military court system.”

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