Tue - 21.11.2017

Concerns raised over lack of government transparency at Bradley Manning trail

Concerns raised over lack of government transparency at Bradley Manning trail

The lawyer representing Bradley Manning, the 24-year-old US soldier accused of having leaked a massive trove of classified documents to WikiLeaks, has said that his trial is being endangered by the US government’s lack of transparency and by failures on the part of the prosecution.

The Courthouse News Service reported yesterday that Manning’s attorney David Coombs has condemned "a cataclysmic failing of the government to understand all aspects of the discovery process."

According to the article, Coombs has complained of the prosecution first refusing to share certain evidence with the defence on the grounds that it was classified, only to reverse its statements within a matter of days. Coombs has also implied that government prosecutors have made mistakes with the legal process, and have failed demonstrated full knowledge of their legal obligations.

The Courthouse News Service reports that in Coomb’s memo “nearly every line of text quoting a government memo or email has been blacked out in redactions”. The article points out that the information that has been withheld reflects “the intense secrecy surrounding the case”.

Coombs is by no means the only one to raise concerns over lack of transparency at Manning’s trail. Last month the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, a US organisation that provides free legal advice and resources to journalists to support their right to freedom of speech, drafted a letter asking for access to records from Bradley Manning’s trial. The petition, which was signed by a long list of news organisations including the Newspaper Association of AmericaThe News York TimesReutersDow Jones and the Associated Press, complained that journalists were not allowed to see court records from Manning’s trail, in contrast to records of legal proceedings at Guantanamo Bay, to which news reporters were given greater access. The media organisations that have signed the letter ask the government to ensure “that military personnel tried stateside have the same rights to a public trial as those afforded accused terrorists.”

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Hannah Vinter


2012-04-25 09:51

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