US & Canada

Military judge set to rule in Bradley Manning case

Media captionNaive or calculated? Rajini Vaidyanathan reports on both sides of the case

A military judge is set to issue a verdict in the court martial of the US soldier who disclosed reams of secret documents to the Wikileaks website.

Private First Class Bradley Manning will hear Judge Col Denise Lind's ruling at 13:00 local time (17:00 GMT).

The 25-year-old has admitted leaking the documents but denies the most serious charge of "aiding the enemy".

He has already pleaded guilty to 10 lesser charges out of 22 total, and faces life in prison if convicted.

'Systematic harvest'

Pte Manning, an intelligence analyst, was arrested in Iraq in May 2010. He spent weeks in a cell at Camp Arifjan, a US Army installation in Kuwait, before being transferred to the US.

He was charged with 22 counts including aiding the enemy, unauthorised possession of intelligence material, theft, and violations of computer regulations.

The court martial in Fort Meade, Maryland, opened in early June.

During the trial, prosecutor Maj Ashden Fein argued Pte Manning systematically harvested hundreds of thousands of classified documents to offer them to anti-secrecy organisation WikiLeaks.

Image caption Pte Manning's supporters rallied outside Fort McNair in Washington on Friday

He argued that with his training as an intelligence analyst, Pte Manning should have known the leaked documents would become available to al-Qaeda operatives.

The prosecution has argued the leaks harmed US national security and endangered American lives and those of foreign intelligence and diplomatic sources, and Maj Fein has said some of the documents eventually made their way to Osama Bin Laden.

Pte Manning's defence lawyer, meanwhile, has argued the young soldier is a well-intentioned whistleblower - and naive and disillusioned after his deployment to Iraq in 2009.

The lawyer, civilian David Coombs, has also said Pte Manning acted without the "general evil intent" that would justify the "aiding the enemy" charge.

Media captionThe BBC's Ben Wright explains the case against Bradley Manning in 80 seconds

In a lengthy statement during a pre-trial hearing in February, Pte Manning said he had leaked the files in order to spark a public debate about US foreign policy and the military.

Among the items sent to Wikileaks was graphic footage of an Apache helicopter attack in 2007 that killed a dozen people in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, including a Reuters photographer.

The documents also included 470,000 Iraq and Afghanistan battlefield reports and 250,000 secure state department cables between Washington and embassies around the world.

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