Army private Bradley Manning received an outpouring of support over the weekend as people around the world launched rallies, vigils, and civil disobedience actions demanding the release of the whistleblower.
Yet, inside the courtroom, Manning has been met with anything but support: the whistleblower faces a last-minute change in charges that his lawyers say defies due process and could weaken his defense.
From London to Seoul to San Francisco, organizers in over 40 cities across the globe launched solidarity actions Saturday, as Manning awaits sentencing from the judge overseeing his case. The actions included protests at US embassies throughout Europe, a large banner drop in Florida, and a flash mob in San Francisco, organizers told Common Dreams.
RT reports 40 protests in German cities alone, with the largest German rally in Frankfurt.
“It is very heartwarming to see people support him, but it is not a surprise, and support is growing day after day,” Farah Muhsin of the Bradley Manning Support Network told Common Dreams.
“People see that this is not a fair trial, and they see that Bradley Manning did the right thing and the heroic thing, sparking the debate he hoped to spark about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, about US involvement in other countries. Organizing these actions helps spark these debates.”
Last week, the presiding judge defied legal propriety and assisted the prosecution by allowing the government to change its charges just days away from sentencing, to accusations that Manning ‘stole’ portions of databases, rather than entire databases. This puts the defense at a severe disadvantage, as they have spent the previous months defending against charges that are now irrelavent.
Manning’s defense is demanding a mistrial on the ‘theft’ charges. Jeff Paterson and Nathan Fuller of the Bradley Manning Support Network declared in a statement, “If [the judge] does not declare a mistrial on the theft charges, she will be taking the government’s unsupported position yet again, further prejudicing Bradley Manning, whose trial is already rife with injustice.”
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