Aug 19 2013
Prosecutors have asked a military judge to sentence US soldier Bradley Manning to 60 years in prison for the biggest leak of classified documents in the country's history.
They said he should spend the majority of his life in prison, but their request is far less than the maximum 90 years he could face.
The recommendation came during closing arguments in the sentencing phase of Manning's trial at Fort Mead, Maryland.
Captain Joe Morrow did not say why prosecutors were not seeking the maximum punishment. "He's been convicted of serious crimes," Capt Morrow said. "He betrayed the US and for that betrayal he deserves to spend the majority of his remaining life in confinement."
The judge said she will begin deliberating the punishment on Tuesday.
Manning was convicted on 20 counts, including six violations of the Espionage Act and five counts of stealing protected information. The 25-year-old leaked more than 700,000 documents, including Iraq and Afghanistan battlefield reports and state department diplomatic cables, while working in early 2010 as an intelligence analyst in Iraq. He also leaked video of a 2007 US Apache helicopter attack in Baghdad that killed at least nine people, including a Reuters news photographer and his driver.
Prosecutors have called Manning an anarchist computer hacker and attention-seeking traitor. The soldier's supporters have hailed Manning as a whistleblower.
Manning's lawyers asked the judge to balance rehabilitation and punishment before sentencing.
In his closing argument defence lawyer David Coombs did not recommend a specific sentence but suggested any prison term should not exceed 25 years. He says the classification of some of the documents Manning leaked expires in 25 years.
Mr Coombs says the military failed Manning when a supervisor did not report to commanders his concerns about Manning's mental health. Mr Coombs says Manning took the first step towards rehabilitation when he offered to serve up to 20 years in February.