WikiLeaks on Wednesday (August 21) said a 35-year jail term handed down to U.S. soldier Bradley Manning for leaking classified files to the pro-transparency organisation was a "strategic victory" as it meant he was eligible for parole in less than a decade.
"Significant strategic victory in Bradley Manning case," WikiLeaks said on its official Twitter feed. "Bradley Manning now eligible for release in less than 9 years, 4.4 in one calculation."
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has previously praised Manning as "the most important journalistic source that the world has ever seen", but has neither confirmed nor denied whether Manning supplied WikiLeaks with classified documents, saying the group never revealed its sources.
Human rights group Amnesty International called on U.S. President Barack Obama to commute Manning's sentence.
"Amnesty International is currently calling on the president to commute his sentence to time served because of all these extenuating circumstances of his case, but also to protect whistleblowers of the future -- future leakers, individuals who expose human rights violations -- and to actually go after individuals who commit human rights violations rather than the individuals who are actually exposing what the government is doing," explained Justin Mazzola, who was an official observer of the court proceedings for Amnesty during the Manning trial.
Judge Colonel Denise Lind, who last month found Manning guilty of 20 charges including espionage and theft, could have sentenced him to as many as 90 years in prison. Prosecutors had asked for 60 years.
Manning, 25, will be dishonourably discharged from the U.S. military and forfeit some pay, Lind said. His rank will be reduced to private from private first class.
"Snowden and all the other leakers beyond, you're going to see the same type of overreach in terms of what he exposed and what they're going to charge him with. I would be surprised if they didn't charge him with violations of the espionage act beyond just the simple breaks of classified information and regulations that apply to that," said Mazzola.
"That's really his basis for not coming to the United States, or leaving the United States after the leaks were announced. He saw what Bradley Manning was going through and didn't want any part of that."
Presented by Adam Justice