Amnesty International condemns US for keeping "aiding the enemy" charge for Manning
MOSCOW, July 19 (RAPSI) - Amnesty International (AI) released a statement Friday condemning a US military judge's refusal to drop the charge of aiding the enemy pending against former military intelligence analyst Bradley Manning as a "travesty of justice."
Manning is accused of having leaked a video showing US soldiers killing unarmed civilians in Iraq, including a photographer for Reuters and his driver. He is further accused of having leaked a multitude of Army reports and diplomatic cables that - once published by Wikileaks - dealt a humiliating blow to the US government in terms of its military and diplomatic agendas.
The prosecution maintains that Osama bin Laden personally accessed and used some of the Wikileaks information.
AI Senior Director of International Law and Policy Winey Brown lambasted the judgment in a statement released by the organization: "The charge of 'aiding the enem' 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."
Brown stressed that the charge is baseless and should be removed.
The AI statement further contended that the prosecution's own witnesses had testified that there was no evidence that Manning had held sympathies toward al-Qaeda or any other terror group.
Should Manning be convicted on the charges he plead guilty to, he faces up 20 years in prison. If he will be convicted on the "aiding the enemy" charge, he could face life imprisonment.