American soldier, Bradley Manning, could Thursday learn the date of his court martial on charges that he leaked secret military information to the website Wikileaks.
Wearing a dark green uniform and flanked by two guards, the 24-year-old former intelligence analyst appeared in a court in Fort Meade, Maryland.
“The judge should set a calendar that should be set today,” a military official told reporters.
Manning was indicted last month on charges of “collusion with the enemy” and faces the possibility of life in prison if convicted.
He is accused of passing secret State Department telegrams and video to the investigative website Wikileaks between November 2009 and May 2010, much of it related to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The 251,287 documents revealed comments about foreign political leaders and military maneuvers and set off a worldwide controversy.
Government prosecutors asked for an August 3 start date for the trial while defense attorneys requested a trial in June.
Judge Denise Mind is expected to decide whether the trial would be held in a military or a civilian court. She will also hear three defense motions at the two-day hearing.
Manning has not yet pleaded guilty or not guilty. “It could happen today, it could happen any time,” a military judicial source said about Manning’s plea.
Before the hearing, about 50 media organizations signed a letter urging the Pentagon to ensure they are given timely access to court documents and decisions in the case.
The letter sent by Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press said a lack of information from the Pentagon has meant that “journalists covering the proceedings are often unaware of what is being discussed therein.”
After being arrested in Iraq in August 2010, Manning was held at a military prison at Quantico, Virginia before being transferred in April 2011 to the Fort Leavenworth, Kansas penitentiary.
In early March, a United Nations rapporteur said the US military was subjecting Manning to “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment” by holding him in isolation for months. He appeared frail at Thursday’s hearing.
Ernesto Juan Mendez, UN special rapporteur on torture, said the “cruel treatment” of Manning ended when he was transferred to Fort Leavenworth.
He is now being detained at an undisclosed location close to Fort Meade but not on the base, a military source said.
(US Army Pfc. Bradley Manning is seen arriving for a motion hearing in the case United States vs. Manning at Fort Meade in Maryland. Manning, could learn the date of his court martial on charges that he leaked secret military information to the website Wikileaks. AFP Photo/Brendan Smialowski)