Leaker Chelsea Manning Appeals ‘Grossly Unfair’ Sentence

She filed an appeal against "the most unjust sentence in the history of the military justice system"

People protest the imprisonment of whistleblower Chelsea Manning. — REUTERS
May 19, 2016 at 5:52 PM ET

WikiLeaks source Chelsea Manning has filed an appeal against her conviction, calling her 35-year prison sentence “grossly unfair” compared to punishments doled out to other leakers of classified information, including General David Petraeus.

The filing called her sentence “the most unjust sentence in the history of the military justice system.” Manning, a former Army intelligence analyst, provided over 700,000 documents, videos, cables and other information to the whistleblower group Wikileaks in 2010.

In Thursday’s 209-page appeal, which you can find here (via The Guardian), Manning’s lawyers also contend that she wasn’t given enough time served while she awaited trial and that the charges against her were excessive in gravity and number.

But Manning’s lawyers aren’t looking to free Manning immediately; they’re asking for a 10-year sentence instead, which, they argue, “will adequately punish her, deter others, and allow her to receive the treatment and care she needs.” Her current sentence, they argue, is “grossly unfair and unprecedented” considering that she thought was doing the right thing by leaking the documents and never put any American lives in danger.

The appeal also compares Manning’s sentence to those handed down to other leakers, like Navy reservist Bryan Martin, who was sentenced to 34 years for trying to sell classified information to a man he thought was a Chinese spy, and Petraeus, who admitted to giving classified information to his biographer and mistress. Petraeus pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge in federal court and was sentenced to two years of probation and fined $100,000. In January, it was announced that he would not face further discipline from the military, meaning he would get to keep his four-star general rank and the corresponding pension.

Petraeus “apparently disclosed the materials for sex,” the appeal states. “The trial counsel in PFC Manning’s case claimed her crime was worse than any soldier in history… He obviously did not have the benefit of knowing about General Petraeus’s misdeeds when he made that statement.”