Ron Paul has hailed accused WikiLeaks source Pvt. Bradley Manning as a “true patriot.”

Manning's Article 32 hearing concluded on Thursday – just days after he turned 24 years of age. Manning is facing life in prison or even the death penalty.

Stress related to the military policy against gay and bisexual troops serving openly “contributed to mental and emotional problems that should have barred [Manning] from having access to sensitive material,” Manning's lawyers argued in court.

Paul hailed Manning as a “hero” during a rally held in January.

“If we have an American citizen and he's willing to take the consequences and practice civil disobedience and say, 'This is what our government is doing,' should he locked up and imprisoned?” Paul rhetorically asked to a handful of “nos.” “Or should we, you know, see him as a political hero? Maybe he is a true patriot who reveals what is going on in government.” (The video is embedded in the right panel of this page. Visit our video library for more videos.)

(Related: Gay activist Dan Choi barred from Bradley Manning hearing.)