WikiLeaks soldier to face US trial on February 4

AFP , Thursday 30 Aug 2012

 US Army Private Bradley Manning will go on trial on February 4 next year over charges that he "aided the enemy" by passing a trove of classified documents to WikiLeaks, a judge said Thursday.

The court date was fixed during a pre-trial hearing at Fort Meade military base in Maryland, and the trial is scheduled to last until March 15, said the military judge hearing the case, Colonel Denise Lind.

Manning, 24, who could be jailed for life over the WikiLeaks allegations -- the biggest security leak in American history -- is likely to break his silence in the case at a pre-trial hearing set for November 27, the court heard.

The soldier was arrested in May 2010 while serving as an intelligence analyst near Baghdad and subsequently charged over the alleged leaks. Manning has since been held in confinement at US military prisons in Kuwait and the United States. He has been named as a defense witness at the November 27 hearing.

It is in relation to his custody at a US Marine base at Quantico, in Virginia, that Manning is expected to give testimony.The soldier's defense lawyers argue Manning was mistreated at Quantico, where he was held in maximum security conditions from July 2010 to April 2011, before being transferred to a prison at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas.

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