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WikiLeaks source may face death

world Updated: Mar 04, 2011 00:59 IST
The Guardian

Bradley Manning, the US soldier who has spent 10 months in solitary confinement on suspicion of having transmitted a huge trove of state secrets to WikiLeaks, now faces a possible death penalty.

The intelligence specialist, who is being held in the maximum security jail on Quantico marine base in Virginia, has been handed 22 additional military charges as part of his court martial process.

They come on top of initial charges of having illegally obtained 150,000 secret US government cables and handing more than 50 of them to an unauthorised person that carried a possible sentence of up to 52 years in prison.

Manning’s lawyer, David Coombs, said that the most serious of the new charges was the Article 104 offence of “aiding the enemy”. The charge carries a potential death sentence.

The charge sheet, like the original set of accusations, contains no mention by name of the enemy to which the US military is referring.

It could be WikiLeaks itself, which the US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, has accused of launching an “attack on America”. Or it could be a reference to enemy forces in Afghanistan.