US: Gay solider Bradley Manning nominated for 2013 Nobel Peace Prize

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

The gay US soldier accused of leaking large numbers of secret documents to Wikileaks, Bradley Manning, has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

Last week he pleaded guilty to 10 of the 22 charges against him, and in court on Thursday, Private First Class Bradley Manning read a statement explaining his actions, saying he did not believe the leaks would harm the US.

While the secret committee which decides on who wins the prize doesn’t disclose nominations, those nominating can do so.

“This year’s nominations come from all over the world … well-known names, well-known presidents and prime ministers and also lesser well-known names working in humanitarian projects, human rights activists,” said Norwegian Nobel Committee’s non-voting secretary Geir Lundestad, who announced the nomination numbers Monday.

“In recent years, some of the Nobel Peace Prizes may have been controversial but they have added to the interest of the prize.”

On nominating Manning, the entire parliamentary group of The Movement in the Icelandic Parliament, the Pirates of the EU; representatives from the Swedish Pirate Party, the former Secretary of State in Tunisia for Sport & Youth released a statement.

It read: “These revelations have fueled democratic uprisings around the world, including a democratic revolution in Tunisia. According to journalists, his alleged actions helped motivate the democratic Arab Spring movements, shed light on secret corporate influence on the foreign and domestic policies of European nations, and most recently contributed to the Obama Administration agreeing to withdraw all US troops from the occupation in Iraq.”

Manning had previously claimed that he was bullied for being gay during his time in the US Army.

In May 2011, human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell described Manning as a “gay hero” and a “human rights defender”.

Last year, four Nobel Prize winners, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Iranian activist Shirin Ebadi, released a joint statement decrying violence against LGBT people, and calling on people around the world to support gay rights.

The committee received a record 259 nominations for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize.