Wikileaks suspect Bradley Manning must be tried, says US tribunal

Decision only applies if approved by district commander first

Bradley Manning, the US Army analyst accused of providing sensitive government data to the Wikileaks whistleblower site, must be tried, according to a military tribunal.

The tribunal recommended that Manning appear before a court martial. Its recommendation echoes that of prosecutors, who pushed for the same during a pre-trial hearing in December, , the BBC reported.

Private Manning, 24, was born in the US but has a Welsh mother, and charities including Amnesty International have argued that he deserves much more support from the British government. He stands accused in the US of "aiding the enemy" by leaking thousands of documents that detailed classified discussions between senior officials, as well as controversial videos of military events.

He was arrested in May 2010, after the Wikileaks cables became the biggest data leak in US history.

If convicted, Manning would likely face a long stint in prison, possibly receiving a life sentence. In December, his lawyers argued that he was struggling with complex pdychological issues, the BBC reported, and that he should not ever have been given access to the data.

In a statement, the US Army tribunal said it had concluded that "reasonable grounds exist to believe that the accused committed the offences alleged". Lt Col Almanza of the tribunal had "recommended that the charges be referred to a general court martial", it stated.

But the recommendation does not mean Manning will be compelled to face a court martial. This would only happen if the commander of the district, Major General Michael Linnington, agrees.

Manning remains under high security in the Fort Leavenworth prison in Kansas.

Meanwhile, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange continues to fight against extradition to Sweden on sex charges. His Supreme Court appeal hearing will take place on 1 and 2 February.

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