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Wikileaks soldier expected to testify

28 February 2013, 11:31

Washington - The US soldier charged with leaking thousands of classified documents to website WikiLeaks hopes to outline his motives in a military court room on Thursday.

Army Private First Class Bradley Manning will testify that he wanted to "spark a domestic debate on the role of our military and foreign policy in general," according to an advocacy group seeking to rally support for the soldier.

The remarks are expected to come as part of a guilty plea as Manning's lawyers seek a plea deal on lesser charges that could see him receive a shorter prison term if military prosecutors agree.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon released dozens of pre-trial documents this week in a bid to address concerns about the openness of the proceedings.

His trial is scheduled to begin in June on 22 charges, including theft, computer fraud, aiding the enemy and publishing intelligence online. Manning could face up to life in prison if found guilty on the most serious charges.

While stationed in Iraq, he allegedly downloaded documents from US government computers about military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, plus diplomatic cables from US embassies that contained embarrassing information about governments and leaders around the world.



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