UN to investigate alleged torturous treatment of Bradley Manning
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UN to investigate alleged torturous treatment of Bradley Manning

Triangle : VA : USA | Dec 23, 2010 at 5:44 PM PST
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Dylan Ratagan considers Manning's confinement

Due to reports that the alleged Wikileaker Bradley Manning is being held under inhumaine conditions, the United Nations is investigating to see if Manning is being mistreated while in US Marine Corps custody as he awaits trial.

Manning, an army private, is charged with the unauthorized use and disclosure of classified information, material related to the disclosures made by WikiLeaks. He faces a court martial sometime 2011.

Today the office of Manfred Nowak, special rapporteur on torture based in Geneva, confirmed that the allegation of torture that was made by one of Manning's supporters was being considered. Nowak is an Austrian rights lawyer who has been involved in cases related to the Balkans, Guantánamo Bay, Iraq and China.

Last week Manning spent his 23rd birthday in solitary confinement, in his cell at the Quantico Marine Base where he's been held for the last five months. He is reportedly alone 23 hours of each day.

Since July, Manning has been held conditions similar to those under which the US detains "enemy combatants," conditions described by some as "cruel and inhumane." He spends each day completely isolated, with severe restrictions placed on basic activities like sleep and exercise, although he has not been convicted of any crime.

Manning's attorney and a friend who have seen him in prison report that his physical and mental health are suffering. While Manning is held in "maximum custody," the military's most severe detention policy, he is also under a longstanding "Prevention of Injury" (POI) order that adds additional restrictions beyond those of other prisoners.

While POI orders typically last a week or two, Manning has been held under a POI order for the entirety of his detention, according to the online activist community Firedoglake.

The specifics of his confinement, according to the group, include the following:

  • Manning stays in his cell for 23 hours a day
  • Guards must check on him every 5 minutes, and he must respond each time
  • He is not allowed to sleep between 5am and 8pm
  • Substantive exercise is not allowed beyond walking, potentially in chains
  • Communication with other people in the brig is banned, and he cannot write to people outside beyond the few a list approved by the brig commander; any unapproved letters he receives are destroyed.
  • He has not been allowed to read newspapers or watch international news during TV time
  • Comfortable sleep is impossible; he must surrender his clothes each night, has only a heavy "suicide blanket" akin to an x-ray vest, and guards must be able to see his face at all times.

The group reports that a psychologist has declared that Manning isn't a danger to himself or others, and the POI order is unnecessary. However, his lawyer has been unsuccessful in getting the POI order lifted.

Firedoglake is sponsoring a petition calling for the cessation of his inhumane treatment.

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David House reports on Bradley Manning's confinement. 12/23/2010
Billie Greenwood is based in Davenport, Iowa, United States of America, and is an Anchor for Allvoices.
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