Wikileaks gives USD 15,100 fee to US soldier to fight his case

Wikileaks has donated USD 15,100 to the legal defence fund of a US soldier, accused of providing the whistle-blowing website with the digital trove.

Updated: Jan 14, 2011, 18:06 PM IST

London: Wikileaks has donated USD 15,100
to the legal defence fund of a US soldier, accused of
providing the whistle-blowing website with the digital trove.

Bradley Manning, who has been charged with the
disclosure of secret US diplomatic cables and is expected to
face a court martial in March, has received the financial aid
from Wikileaks after it came under mounting criticism from the
supporters of the detained soldier, the Guardian reported.

The fund is managed by Manning`s Rhode Island-based
lawyer, David Coombs.

WikiLeaks` slow response in coming to the financial
aid of its alleged source, who now faces up to 52 years in
prison for having passed information to the website, has long
been a cause of frustration for his supporters, although they
have been hesitant to go public, the paper said.

In the past, the Bradley Manning Support Network has
indicated that WikiLeaks had promised to pay up to USD 50,000
in legal fees, although that offer was reduced to USD 20,000
in December and the payment ended up being USD 15,000.

Part of the problem may be explained by WikiLeaks` own
financial difficulties as a result of Visa, MasterCard and
PayPal cutting off its accounts after pressure from the US
government, it said.

The support network calculates that the legal fund
needs to have at least USD 115,000 to fight a vigorous
defence. Including the WikiLeaks donation, it has collected
more than USD 100,000.

Manning was arrested last May in Iraq, where he was
stationed on intelligence duties, and has been kept in
solitary confinement for the last five months in a military
jail at the Quantico marine base, Virginia.

PTI