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Army whistleblower who exposed alleged Australian war crimes in Afghanistan is sentenced to prison

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — An Australian judge sentenced a former army lawyer to almost six years in prison on Tuesday for leaking to the media classified information that exposed allegations of Australian war crimes in Afghanistan.

David McBride, 60, was sentenced in a court in the capital, Canberra, to five years and eight months in prison after pleading guilty to three charges including theft and sharing with members of the press documents classified as secret. He had faced a potential life sentence.

Justice David Mossop ordered McBride to serve 27 months in prison before he can be considered for release on parole.

Rights advocates argue that McBride’s conviction and sentencing before any alleged war criminal he helped expose reflected a lack of whistleblower protections in Australia.

McBride addressed his supporters as he walked his dog to the front door of the Australian Capital Territory Supreme Court to be sentenced.

“I’ve never been so proud to be an Australian as today. I may have broken the law, but I did not break my oath to the people of Australia and the soldiers that keep us safe,” McBride told the cheering crowd.

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AP AUDIO: Army whistleblower who exposed alleged Australian war crimes in Afghanistan is sentenced to prison

AP correspondent Charles de Ledesma reports an Army whistleblower who exposed alleged Australian war crimes in Afghanistan has been sentenced to prison.

A lawyer for McBride, Mark Davis, said that his legal team would appeal a ruling that prevented McBride from mounting a defense. Mossop ruled in November last year that McBride had no duty as an army officer beyond