December 16 has been named as the date for the first hearing in the military trial for PFC Bradley Manning, a mere 18 months after he was first arrested.
The date for the Article 32 hearing for Manning, who was incarcerated on suspicion of being Wikileaks’ source for the “diplomatic cables”, was announced by defence attorney David Coombs in a blog post.
The Article 32 hearing is a military pre-trial, in which the accusations and evidence will be tested to see whether they’re likely to hold up in a full trial. Coombes’ office expects the hearing to last five days, and will be open except when classified information is being discussed.
The US government’s accusations against Manning include “aiding the enemy”, a capital charge for which the government’s lawyers have magnanimously said they won’t seek the death penalty; as well as theft of public property or records; computer fraud; breaches of the Espionage Act; and wrongfully publishing intelligence information on the Internet knowing it would be accessible to the enemy.
The hearing will take place in Fort Meade.
Manning was arrested in Kuwait after ex-hacker Adrian Lamo identified him as the source of the infamous “Wikileaks video”, which showed a helicopter attack in Baghdad in 2007 targeting unarmed civilians.
Coombes' team says it will not be responding to requests for interviews, given the effort required to prepare for the hearing. ®
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