The court-martial for Army Pfc. Bradley Manning begins today in Fort Meade, Md. Manning is accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of military and State Department documents that ended up being published by online organization WikiLeaks, in what has been described as the most extensive leak of classified information in U.S. history.
Manning, 25, faces life in prison if convicted of the most serious charge of aiding the enemy. The trial is expected to last three months.
In the three years since first being detained during a combat deployment to Iraq, the former Army intelligence analyst has become a cause célèbre for civil liberties and anti-secrecy advocates who consider him a whistle-blower.
Army prosecutors consider him a traitor. The most serious of the 22 charges he faces is for aiding the enemy, which carries a potential life sentence. Prosecutors chose not to pursue the death penalty for the charge.
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