The conviction of espionage against Bradley Manning, the US soldier who leaked thousands of classified documents, has provoked strong reactions.
While critics are disappointed the charge of ‘aiding the enemy’ was dismissed, his supporters are angry over a possible 136 year jail term.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has strongly condemned the verdict.
This is the first ever espionage conviction against a whistleblower in the United States, it is a dangerous precedent and an example of national security extremism. It is a short-sighted judgement that cannot be tolerated and it must be reversed. It can never be that conveying true information to the public is espionage.”
Supporters out side the military court in Fort Meade, Maryland said they applauded Manning’s attempts to disclose what the US government was doing in their name.
While the White House has not commented, some Congressmen have said justice has been served as the leaks jeopardised national security and intelligence operations. Manning’s sentencing hearing is set to begin on Wednesday.