Chelsea Manning, formerly known as Bradley Manning, was sentenced in August to 35 years in prison for releasing 700,000 classified government documents to WikiLeaks in 2010.
Now Manning’s lawyer plans to appeal the 35-year prison sentence. Albuquerque, New Mexico attorney Nancy Hollander and her law partner Vincent Ward were recently retained by Manning to represent her in the next phase of her military court proceedings.
A sentence of 2.5 years or less is normally given by U.S. courts to others who have given government secrets to the media. In a recent telephone interview Hollander said Manning’s 35-year sentence is out of proportion of the usual 2.5 years or less that is given.
“It’s a very long sentence compared to other sentences for similar kinds of situations that I’m aware of, or even dissimilar situations like rape and murder,” said Hollander.
At the trial, military prosecutors called Manning “an anarchist hacker and traitor who indiscriminately leaked information she had sworn to protect, knowing it would be seen by al-Qaida.”
Supporters of the former intelligence analyst would disagree. They consider Manning a whistleblower who, while working in Iraq, revealed diplomatic hypocrisy and U.S. war crimes.
While Manning was acquitted of aiding the enemy – the most serious charge she faced – she was convicted of 20 crimes, including six violations of the Espionage Act.
An appeal cannot be filed until trial findings have been finalized by Major General Jeffrey Buchanan, commander of the Military District of Washington, D.C.
Hollander has yet to receive the trial transcript, so until then discussion of a legal strategy is premature. Though she did say, “I know the issues that I believe are some of the main issues that will come up…It’s the kind of work we do, and it’s a righteous case.” Hollander added that “big issues” involving freedom of information and why certain things are kept secret by the government will come up in the appeals case.
Having been diagnosed with gender dysphoria, Manning declared after sentencing the desire to live as a woman.
Manning is currently serving her 35-year sentence at Leavenworth Prison in Kansas.
Images via YouTube.