A military judge found that Bradley Manning, accused of sending classified documents to WikiLeaks, suffered illegal pretrial punishment for nine months when he was held in a brig in Quantico, Va., reports the Associated Press. Col. Denise Lind said his detention conditions were “more rigorous than necessary,” noting they “became excessive in relation to legitimate government interests.” As a result, she reduced Manning’s potential sentence by a total of 112 days during a pretrial hearing in Fort Meade.
Manning, who faces 22 charges and could ultimately be sentenced to life behind bars, was held in a windowless cell 23 hours a day, and was often denied clothing. The trial is scheduled to start March 6. At the pretrial hearing the 25-year-old’s lawyer hinted that a main argument the defense will likely use is that Manning selected what information he would pass on to WikiLeaks to make sure the United States would not be harmed, points out the Guardian. The lawyer insisted he will present evidence at the trial to demonstrate Manning didn’t have an “evil intent” to help the enemy. Prosecutors are trying to prevent the defense from presenting evidence on Manning’s motive, saying it is irrelevant.