By RFE RL
(RFE/RL) — Bradley Manning, the former U.S. Army private accused of sharing hundreds of thousands of classified government documents with the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks, will be asked to enter a plea in military court near Washington.
The 24-year-old faces 22 counts, including aiding the enemy, a charge that carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.
He is accused of passing more than 700,000 military field reports from Iraq and Afghanistan and U.S. diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks between November 2009 and May 2010, when he was serving in Iraq.
The leaks shed light on civilian deaths and created diplomatic tensions for Washington.
The U.S. government slammed the release, saying it threatened national security.
Supporters describe Manning as a political prisoner.
Manning is expected to plead not guilty.