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Wiki leaker could face death penalty

Wiki leaker could face death penalty

The US Army private accused of leaking documents to Wikileaks faces charges that include the death penalty.Private Bradley Manning has been charged with an additional 22 offences by American…

The US Army private accused of leaking documents to Wikileaks faces charges that include the death penalty.

Private Bradley Manning has been charged with an additional 22 offences by American authorities. One of those charges, the capital offence of "aiding the enemy", carries the death sentence. However, prosecutors have said that if Manning is convicted of this offence, they will not seek the death penalty.

In addition to the charge of aiding the enemy, Manning faces eight counts of transmitting defence information in breach of the Espionage Act, five charges of theft of public property or records, five charges of violating US Army computer-security regulations, two counts of computer fraud and one charge of wrongfully causing intelligence to be published on the internet knowing it would be accessible to the enemy.

Manning is accused of leaking thousands of documents related to the conduct of American and coalition forces in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. One piece of video footage released to Wikileaks depicts a US Army Apache helicopter killing two reporters and Iraqi civilians in July 2007. The video includes commentary from US soldiers mocking the victims.

The US Army released a statement overnight that the additional charges against Manning are the result of months of investigations by the US Army Criminal Investigation Command and other agencies.

"The new charges more accurately reflect the broad scope of the crimes that Private First Class Manning is accused of committing," said Capt John Haberland, a legal spokesperson for the US Army Military District of Washington.

The statement added that the Army is committed to the continued safety and well-being of Manning in his pre-trial confinement.

Private Manning was first charged with offences in July last year and has been kept in isolation at a military prison in Virginia.

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