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Nobel winners salute GI charged in WikiLeaks case

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HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) - Three Nobel Peace Prize winners say a U.S. Army private being court-martialed for allegedly sending classified information to the secret-busting website WikiLeaks deserves gratitude, not persecution.

The letter signed by Desmond Tutu, Mairead Maguire and Adolfo Perez Esquivel appears in the Dec. 3 issue of The Nation magazine.

They say Pfc. Bradley Manning is a courageous whistleblower whose alleged actions revealed covert crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The letter comes a week after Manning's lawyers revealed his offer to plead guilty to reduced charges.

Manning would acknowledge he sent WikiLeaks hundreds of thousands of classified Iraq and Afghanistan war reports and State Department diplomatic cables. But he wouldn't plead guilty to violating federal espionage and computer laws, or to aiding the enemy. That offense carries a maximum life sentence.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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