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European Parliamentarians Call for Bradley Manning’s Freedom

European Parliamentarians Call for Bradley Manning’s Freedom

Seventeen Members of European Parliament have written a letter calling on U.S. President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to free WikiLeaks whistle-blower Army Pfc. Bradley Manning. The MEPs laud Manning for exposing “evidence of human rights abuses and apparent war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan” in accordance with international law.

“We hereby urge you to end the persecution of Bradley Manning, a young gay man who has been imprisoned for over three years, including ten months in solitary confinement, under conditions that the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan Mendez deemed 'cruel and abusive.' Bradley Manning has already suffered too much, and he should be freed as soon as humanly possible,” write politicians from Spain, France, Sweden, Germany, Portugal, Ireland, and Ukraine.

In addition to the abuse Manning suffered, the MEPs specifically condemn the 'aiding the enemy' offense with which Manning is charged, a capital offense that “would set a terrible precedent.”

“To consider releasing information about war crimes to the public to be ‘aiding the enemy’ would be a terrible setback for the defense of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law worldwide,” said Marisa Matias of Portugal, explaining why she joined 16 other Members of European Parliament in signing the letter.

Manning faces a potential life sentence for passing hundreds of thousands of classified military and diplomatic documents to the transparency website WikiLeaks, to expose U.S. criminality in its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and further abuses around the world. Manning pled guilty to ten lesser offenses that could have put him in prison for up to 20 years, but the prosecution is seeking a life sentence. The military judge in his trial is expected to deliver a final verdict on guilt or innocence tomorrow, July 30. The sentencing phase of the trial, which is expected to run for several weeks in August, will begin after that ruling.

Furthermore, “Army prosecutors closed their arguments in the case without having provided any real evidence that Bradley Manning aided the enemy, or that he intended to do so.”

The MEPs explain Manning’s motives in providing documents to WikiLeaks,

PFC Manning has said he felt that if the American public had access to this information, this could 'spark a domestic debate' on American foreign policy 'as it related to Iraq and Afghanistan'. Far from being a traitor, Bradley Manning had the best interests of his country in mind. 

Bradley Manning has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize three years in a row.

ENDS

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