2013-07-30 European parliamentarians call for Manning's freedom

Seventeen members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have written a letter calling on US President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to free whistleblower Army Pfc Bradley Manning. The MEPs laud Manning for exposing "evidence of human rights abuses and apparent war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan" in accordance with international law.

Bradley Manning has already suffered too much, and he should be freed as soon as humanly possible", write politicians from Spain, France, Sweden, Germany, Portugal, Ireland, and Ukraine.

In addition to the abuse Manning suffered, the MEPs specifically condemn the 'aiding the enemy' offense with which Manning is charged, a capital offence that "would set a terrible precedent".

"To consider releasing information about war crimes to the public to be 'aiding the enemy' would be a terrible setback for the defense of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law worldwide", said Marisa Matias of Portugal, explaining why she joined 16 other Members of European Parliament in signing the letter.

Manning faces a potential life sentence for passing hundreds of thousands of classified military and diplomatic documents to the transparency website WikiLeaks, to expose US criminality in its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and further abuses around the world. Manning pled guilty to ten lesser offenses that could have put him in prison for up to 20 years, but the prosecution is seeking a life sentence. The military judge in his trial is expected to deliver a final verdict tomorrow, July 30. The sentencing phase of the trial will follow that ruling.

Furthermore, "Army prosecutors closed their arguments in the case without having provided any real evidence that Bradley Manning aided the enemy, or that he intended to do so."

PFC Manning has said he felt that if the public had access to this information, this could 'spark a domestic debate' on US foreign policy 'as it related to Iraq and Afghanistan'. Far from being a traitor, Bradley Manning had the best interests of his country in mind.

Manning has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize three years in a row.

Contact: Gerry Condon, 206-499-1220

Alternate: Nathan Fuller

Read the letter in full here: