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Manning Jailed For 35 Years In WikiLeaks Case
Bradley Manning has been sentenced to 35 years in prison for giving classified documents to whistleblowing website WikiLeaks.
The former US Army intelligence analyst - convicted on 20 counts, including six violations of the Espionage Act - had faced up to 90 years behind bars.
WikiLeaks described the sentence as a "strategic victory" as Manning will be eligible for parole within nine years.
Manning, 25, was not convicted of the more serious crime of aiding the enemy, which could have carried a life sentence without parole.
Manning will get credit for the more than three years he has been held, but he will have to serve at least one-third of his sentence before he is eligible for parole.
Colonel Morris David, a military lawyer who was third chief prosecutor in the Guantanamo military commissions, said the sentence meant Manning would probably be released in between eight and nine years.
His rank was reduced, he was dishonourably discharged and he forfeited his pay.
Guards hurried Manning out of the courtroom after sentencing as about a half-dozen supporters shouted from the back: "We'll keep fighting for you, Bradley!" and "You're our hero!"
In a statement, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said the defence "should be proud of their tactical victory", but called Manning's trial and conviction an "affront to basic concepts of Western justice".
He said: "Mr Manning's treatment has been intended to send a signal to people of conscience in the US government who might seek to bring wrongdoing to light.
"This strategy has spectacularly backfired, as recent months have proven.
"Instead", he added, "the Obama administration is demonstrating that there is no place in its system for people of conscience and principle. As a result, there will be a thousand more Bradley Mannings."
The American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International and other activists also criticised the punishment.
"When a soldier who shared information with the press and public is punished far more harshly than others who tortured prisoners and killed civilians, something is seriously wrong with our justice system," said Ben Wizner, head of the ACLU's speech and technology project.
But Gabriel Schoenfeld, a senior fellow at the conservative Hudson Institute think tank and author of the book Necessary Secrets, welcomed Manning's punishment.
"The sentence is a tragedy for Bradley Manning, but it is one he brought upon himself," he said.
"It will certainly serve to bolster deterrence against other potential leakers."
The sentencing in a military courtroom at Fort Meade, near Baltimore, capped a 12-week trial and a much longer legal battle over Manning's intentions when he reached out to WikiLeaks.
Prosecutors, who had asked for at least a 60-year sentence, portrayed Manning as "the determined insider", an anarchist hacker and traitor.
They said Manning started working within weeks of his 2009 deployment to Iraq to provide WikiLeaks and Assange with exactly what they wanted.
Manning and his defence team maintained he was an idealistic soldier who wanted to expose brutal truths about America's military and diplomatic corps.
Manning, from Oklahoma, digitally copied and released more than 700,000 documents, including Iraq and Afghanistan battlefield reports and State Department cables.
He also leaked video of a 2007 Apache helicopter attack in Baghdad that mistakenly killed at least nine people, including a Reuters photographer.
At his trial, Manning said he gave the material to the secrets-spilling website to expose the US military's "bloodlust" and generate debate over the wars and US policy.
During the sentencing phase, he apologised for the damage he caused, saying: "When I made these decisions, I believed I was going to help people, not hurt people."
His lawyers also argued that Manning suffered extreme inner turmoil over his gender identity - his feeling that he was a woman trapped in a man's body - while serving in the macho military, which at the time barred gays from serving openly.
Among the evidence was a photo of him in a blond wig and lipstick.
The judge on Wednesday did not say where Manning would serve his time, but a spokeswoman for the Military District of Washington said Manning would likely go to Fort Leavenworth.
The Kansas-based facility is the only military prison for service members sentenced to 10 or more years of confinement.
Inmates there are highly restricted, graveyard work shifts are common and jobs pay just pennies per hour.