‘Wikileaks’ soldier waits for court’s decision

The case of army private Bradley Manning, accused of creating the biggest national security leak in United States history, adjourned last night to wait for a decision on whether he will face a court-martial.

Military prosecutors and defence lawyers gave their closing arguments, with prosecutors saying the 19-year-old intelligence analyst defied the nation’s trust by pulling more than 700,000 documents from a supposedly secure computer network and giving reams of national secrets to WikiLeaks.

The defence said the army had failed the troubled young soldier and was piling on charges in an attempt to force him into pleading guilty.

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Presiding officer Lt-Col Paul Almanza now has until 16 January to recommend whether Manning should stand trial for aiding the enemy and 21 other charges.

If convicted, he could face life in prison.

The defence team at Fort Meade, Maryland, says Manning was nearly paralysed by internal struggles over his belief that he was a woman trapped in a man’s body. They say his supervisors failed to suspend his access to classified data, despite clear signs of emotional distress.