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Is Bradley Manning’s 35-year sentence fair or overly harsh?

by AirTalk®

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US Army Private First Class Bradley Manning departs a US military court facility at Fort Meade, Maryland on August 20, 2013. SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

Former Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison today for giving hundreds of thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks. The ACLU and Amnesty International are among the groups denouncing the sentence as too severe.

RELATED: Update: Bradley Manning sentenced to 35 years for giving US secrets to WikiLeaks

Ben Wizner, who heads the ACLU's speech and technology project, says, “When a soldier who shared information with the press and public is punished far more harshly than others who tortured prisoners and killed civilians, something is seriously wrong with our justice system.”

But supporters of the sentence argue it’s appropriate and sends an important message of deterrence for others who might want to leak documents. Manning stood at attention and showed no emotion as the verdict was announced at Fort Meade in Maryland. Prosecutors had asked for at least 60 years, as a warning to other soldiers and Manning’s lawyer proposed no more than 25.

Will the decision be appealed? How much of the sentence will Manning likely serve?

Ben Wizner, Director of the ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project

Jeffrey F. Addicott, Director of the Center for Terrorism Law; Professor of Law at St Mary’s University of Law in San Antonio, Texas

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