PFC Bradley Manning, accused of leaking sensitive US government documents to Wikileaks, will have his first chance before a military court on December 16, when an Article 32 hearing will begin at Fort Meade, Maryland.
The Article 32 hearing is expected to last approximately five days and will be open to the public except for limited times during classified information discussions.
Primary in its purpose, the Article 32 hearing, similar to a pre-trial hearing, will allow evaluation of strengths and weaknesses in the government’s case and provide Manning’s defense team the opportunity to obtain pre-trial discovery, according to a statement by his lawyer, David E. Coombs.
At the hearing, the defense team will be entitled to call witnesses and also cross-examine government witnesses.
Manning was arrested in May 2010 and has been in military custody since then, including a period of controversial treatment while in solitary confinement.
Earlier this year, Manning’s solitary confinement and related treatment while imprisoned at Quantico Brig brought widespread condemnation from across the country, and pressure from several international rights organizations became so intense he was eventually moved to Fort Leavenworth, where his conditions improved considerably.
According to Coombs' website, Manning’s legal team has stated it will not be granting media interviews or responding to media inquiries, instead staying focused on providing Manning with the best possible representation for the upcoming hearing.