UN Official: Manning Subjected to 'Cruel Treatment' by US Govt

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Common Dreams

UN Official: Manning Subjected to 'Cruel Treatment' by US Govt

by
Common Dreams staff

US Army Private Bradley Manning is escorted away from his hearing at Fort Meade, Maryland, on February 23. US authorities' treatment of Manning was "cruel and degrading," the UN special rapporteur on torture Juan Ernesto Mendez said Monday. (AFP Photo/Mark Wilson)

"I believe Bradley Manning was subjected to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment in the excessive and prolonged isolation he was put in during the eight months he was in Quantico," UN special rapporteur on torture Juan Ernesto Mendez told AFP on Monday .

US Army Private Manning has been indicted by the US government on 22 counts, including 'aiding the enemy,' stemming from allegations that Manning was the source for hundreds of thousands of US diplomatic cables that were subsequently released by the whistleblower website, Wikileaks.

Agence France-Presse reports:

Mendez said that "fortunately" the alleged mistreatment ended when Manning was transferred from Quantico to another prison in Kansas.

"But the explanation I was given for those eight months was not convincing for me," he said, speaking on the sidelines of a UN Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva.

Jailed for more than a year and a half before his arraignment last month, Manning, 24, has complained of being placed in solitary confinement, of bullying by guards, and of being subjected to an ultra restrictive regime in Quantico. [...]

At his arraignment hearing at the Fort Meade army base on February 24, when he declined to enter a plea, Manning's civilian lawyer, David Coombs, said his client had been in confinement for 635 days.

Manning faces court martial later this year, accused of passing hundreds of thousands of military field reports from Iraq and Afghanistan and US diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks between November 2009 and May 2010, when he served as an intelligence analyst in Iraq.

The military documents shed light on civilian deaths, while the diplomatic cables sparked a firestorm by disclosing the private remarks of heads of state and candid observations by senior US officials.

The US government slammed the disclosure of the documents by WikiLeaks, saying it threatened national security and the lives of foreigners working with the military and US embassies.

WikiLeaks supporters view the site as a whistleblower that exposed US wrongdoing and see Manning as a political prisoner.

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