December 16, 2011 by staff
Bradley Manning, Bradley Manning will be seen in public for the first time since he was arrested in Iraq in May 2010 for allegedly leaking hundreds of thousands of secret US state documents to WikiLeaks.
Security will be exceptionally – some say bizarrely – tight at the opening on Friday of the pre-trial hearing of the WikiLeaks suspect at Fort Meade in Maryland. Though a small number of seats in the military courtroom have been reserved for members of the public, rigid reporting restrictions will be in place that will prevent any live coverage of the proceedings.
The army has come under criticism for taking so long to bring Manning to trial, and faces further questions over how it is conducting the start of deliberations. The hearing is a preliminary stage, known as an Article 32, equivalent to a civilian pre-trial hearing and is designed to assess whether the US soldier should be sent to a full court-martial.
Manning was charged in March with 37 counts relating to the leaking of hundreds of thousands of secret documents to WikiLeaks from secure US databases that he allegedly accessed while working as an intelligence officer at the Forward Operating Base Hammer outside Baghdad. The documents included Afghan and Iraq war logs, a trove of US embassy cables from around the world and video footage of a US helicopter fatally firing on a group of civilians in Iraq including two Reuters employees.
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