By Raf Sanchez,.telegraph.co.uk –
A military judge has ruled that the US soldier accused of handing hundreds of thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks was imprisoned under illegal conditions but refused to dismiss charges against him.
Lawyers for Private First Class Bradley Manning argued that he was abused during his nine months at a Marine Corps prison in Virginia and that his mistreatment should lead to the dismissal of the 22 charges against him.
The 24-year-old soldier was held in a windowless cell for 23 hours a day, kept under an intensive suicide watch regime and sometimes stripped of his clothes.
At a hearing on Tuesday, Colonel Denise Lind, the military judge, agreed that the treatment was “more rigorous than necessary” but ruled that Pfc Manning should receive only a 112-day reduction on an eventual prison sentence.
If convicted of the most serious charge, aiding the enemy, the young soldier could life imprisonment.
David Coombs, Pfc Manning’s defence attorney, argued earlier in the hearing that his client had carefully selected which documents to leak in order to ensure that the disclosures did not endanger US national security. More…