Army Colonel Denise Lind, who is presiding over the prosecution of Bradley Manning [advocacy website; JURIST news archive], ruled on Wednesday that prosecutors must prove that Manning was aware that he was providing information to an enemy of the US when he leaked confidential documents to the website WikiLeaks [official website; JURIST news archive]. Manning has been charged [JURIST report] with 22 counts under the Espionage Act, including aiding the enemy, and could face life in prison if convicted. Prosecutors will introduce evidence [WP report] recovered from the compound of Osama bin Laden [JURIST news archive] to establish that he received some of the documents Manning provided to WikiLeaks. Lind ruled [AP report] that Manning may introduce evidence of his motive only to the extent that it shows he was unaware that providing information to WikiLeaks was tantamount to dealing with the enemy. Manning's lawyer, David Coombs, also argued in court on Wednesday that Manning's right to a speedy trial has been violated.
Since his arrest in 2010 Manning's case has been controversial with his supporters protesting [CNN report] the effort to prosecute him and calling him a courageous whistle-blower [advocacy petition]. Just last week, Lind ruled [JURIST report] that the pre-trial punishment of Manning, which included extended solitary confinement and use of suicide restraints, was illegal and excessive. In November Manning's partial guilty plea offer was accepted [JURIST report] by Lind. In June Manning's motion to dismiss the charges against him was denied after Manning was declared competent [JURIST reports] to stand trial in April.