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WikiLeaks: Bradley Manning was treated improperly in lockup, judge rules

But the military court declined to throw out the case against former Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, who faces trial for allegedly facilitating the largest leak of classified documents in US history.

By Staff writer / January 8, 2013

Army Pfc. Bradley Manning steps out of a security vehicle as he is escorted into a courthouse in Fort Meade, Md., in this Nov. 29, 2012, file photo.

Patrick Semansky/AP/File

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Washington

A military judge ruled on Tuesday that a former Army intelligence analyst accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of sensitive US documents to WikiLeaks was subject to improper treatment during a portion of his pretrial detention in a US Marine Corps lockup.

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The judge, US Army Col. Denise Lind, said she would give former analyst Pfc. Bradley Manning credit for 112 days of time served off any potential future sentence.

But Judge Lind refused a defense request that she throw out all or part of the charges against Manning to punish the government for its misconduct.

Defense lawyers had asked the judge to dismiss the government’s case against their client based on the unusually harsh treatment he faced in a detention facility at Quantico, Va., following his arrest in 2010 for allegedly facilitating the largest leak of classified documents in US history.

The defense had also asked, in the alternative, that the judge give Manning potential credit of 10 days off any future sentence for every day he spent under improper conditions of pretrial confinement.

Although prosecutors appear to have lost, the judge’s ruling marks a toothless victory for the defense. Manning is charged with violating 22 separate counts, including that he aided the enemy. The 25-year-old private is facing a potential sentence of life in prison.

In contrast to Lind’s 112-day determination, it is not uncommon for judges to allow defendants held while awaiting trial to receive full credit for the amount of time spent in pretrial detention. They typically receive that full credit even when they aren’t subject to what Lind determined were improper and punitive conditions of confinement in the Manning case.

The judge read her decision in open court. She said Manning’s detention was “more rigorous than necessary,” according to the Associated Press. She also concluded that the government’s treatment of Manning “became excessive in relation to legitimate government interests.”

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