UN Investigating Bradley Manning’s Detainment

Africana Online | December 27, 2010

The United Nations office for torture issues in Geneva is now investigating a complaint that the U.S.is torturing Bradley Manning. Manning is the detained Army private suspected of giving classified documents to WikiLeaks. He has been held in solitary confinement for seven months despite being an exemplary prisoner. Many experts believe that being held in solitary confinement for an extended period of time does constitute torture.

The U.N. said it received a complaint from one of Manning’s supporters alleging conditions at the brig amount to torture. According to the U.N., the complaint received alleges that Manning’s physical and mental health are deteriorating in the face of continual solitary confinement. The office of Manfred Nowak, special lawyer on torture based in Geneva, confirmed that they are investigating the report. A spokesman for the Marines denied mistreating Manning, telling the AP he is being kept safe, secure and ready for trial.

Last week, Manning’s lawyers and supporters released detailed information about the conditions in which Manning is being detained. Manning’s lawyer, David Coombs, posted a blog detailing the conditions, stating he is in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day with no bed sheets or a pillow and is unable to exercise while in his cell. The lawyer also expressed frustration with the harsh conditions, describing multiple attempts to improve them and indicating that he is prepared to file a motion under Article 13 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which bans illegal pretrial punishment.

Wikileaks’ founder Julian Assange also spoke out about the alleged mistreatment of Manning. In an interview on MSNBC, Assange said that he doesn’t know if Manning is the whistleblower (due to the blinders of the software used by WikiLeaks), but he’s a "political prisoner" in the U.S., adding that claims he conspired with Manning are "absolute nonsense."  He urged human rights’ organizations to look into the treatment of Manning.

Assange also responded to some conservatives calling for his execution or calling him a terrorist. "If we are to have a civil society, you cannot have senior people making calls on national TV to go around the judiciary and illegally murder people," he said. "That is incitement to commit murder."

"Whoever the terrorists are here, it’s not us," Assange told MSNBC. He also had harsh words about presidential hopefuls Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin. “It’s just another idiot trying to make a name for himself." That might be the quote of the year.

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