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U.S. Prosecutors Ask 60-Year Jail Sentence For Manning

U.S. Private First Class Bradley Manning is escorted out of court after testifying in the sentencing phase of his military trial at Fort Meade, Maryland, on August 14.
Prosecutors are asking a military judge to sentence U.S. soldier Bradley Manning to 60 years in prison for handing over secret U.S. military and diplomatic documents to the WikiLeaks website.

Prosecutor Joe Morrow made the recommendation during closing arguments on August 19 in the sentencing phase of Manning's court-martial in the eastern state of Maryland.

Morrow did not say why prosecutors were seeking 60 years when Manning has faced up to 90 years for his convictions on 20 counts, including six violations of the Espionage Act.

Manning's defense attorney did not recommend a specific punishment, but suggested any prison term shouldn't exceed 25 years because the classification of some of the documents Manning leaked expires in 25 years.

Defense attorney David Coombs said Manning, who was 21 when he enlisted in 2007, had limited life and military experience.

Manning's attorneys have presented witnesses who said he was under great stress because he was wrestling with problems of gender identity while deployed in Iraq, when the leaks occurred.

The judge said she will begin deliberating the punishment on August 20.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP