WikiLeaks suspect Bradley Manning facing 22 fresh charges

Washington, Mar 3(ANI): Bradley Manning, the prime suspect in the leaking of classified US documents to the WikiLeaks whistleblowing website, has been hit with an additional 22 charges, including aiding the enemy.

The US Army intelligence analyst initially faced 12 charges, including transferring classified military information to his computer and "delivering national defense information to an unauthorized source".

As part of 22 additional counts, Army prosecutors said he "wrongfully and wantonly" caused intelligence to be published on the Internet, with the knowledge that it would be "accessible to the enemy".

Aiding the enemy is a capital offense, under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, but the military is not seeking the death penalty.

"The new charges more accurately reflect the broad scope of the crimes that Pvt. 1st Class Manning is accused of committing," Fox News quoted Captain John Haberland, a legal spokesman for the Military District of Washington, as saying.

The Army made the announcement of additional charges after seven months of investigation.

If Manning is convicted of all the charges, he faces life in prison, reduction in rank to the lowest enlisted pay grade, a dishonourable discharge and loss of all pay and allowances.

Trial proceedings against Manning have been on hold since last July, pending the results of a medical inquiry into Manning's mental capacity and responsibility.

If that inquiry determines that he is mentally fit to be tried, the military equivalent of grand jury proceeding may be held.

The development comes amid an expanding U.S. investigation that could lead to charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and others.

Copyright Asian News International/