Wikileaks Suspect to Appear in US Court

Posted December 16th, 2011 at 6:45 am (UTC-5)
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The U.S. Army soldier accused of leaking thousands of classified and sensitive documents to the anti-secrecy website Wikileaks will make his first public appearance in court Friday.

Prosecutors will make the case for a court martial against 23-year-old Private First Class Bradley Manning during the opening of his pre-trial hearing at Fort Meade in Maryland.

The former intelligence analyst is accused of illegally downloading hundreds of thousands of sensitive files while serving on a military base near Baghdad, Iraq between November 2009 and May 2010.

He allegedly shared the documents with Wikileaks, which began publishing them in July 2010.

The leaked files, which include diplomatic cables, military reports, and videos of U.S. air strikes, have roiled the international community, often providing blunt and unflattering U.S. views of world leaders' private and public lives.

U.S. officials say the scandal has put lives in danger, threatened national security and undermined American efforts to work with other countries.

Manning faces several charges, including “aiding the enemy,” which is a capital offense. Prosecutors have said they will not seek the death penalty. However, Manning could spend the rest of his life in prison if convicted.