Russia denounces Manning sentence, calls it 'unjustifiably harsh'

MOSCOW (AFP) - Russia on Wednesday called the 35-year sentence handed down to US Army Private Bradley Manning for divulging state secrets "unjustifiably harsh" and accused the United States of double standards.

The Russian foreign ministry's human rights representative argued that "when US interests are at stake, as was the case with Bradley Manning, the American justice system adopts unjustifiably harsh decisions... without any regard for human rights".

Manning passed a massive cache of classified government documents to the WikiLeaks anti-secrecy group headed by Julian Assange. He was sentenced by a US military judge earlier on Wednesday.

Russia bristles at US condemnations of its own human rights record under President Vladimir Putin and has recently angered Washington by issuing temporary asylum to fugitive US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden.

The foreign ministry's human rights envoy Konstantin Dolgov told Interfax that "such a display of double standards (by Washington)... once again undermines the United States' claim of being a leader" on human rights.