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Manning Defense Calls for Dismissal of Charges over Cruel and Unusual Punishment in Detention

110-page motion alleges excessive and "retaliatory" treatment

Common Dreams staff

Bradley Manning Supporters Rally at Quantico Protesting Inhumane Conditions (Photo: Billy Perry)

US army whistleblower Private Bradley Manning, known for allegedly leaking embarrassing US cables to website WikiLeaks, is now claiming his treatment in a pre-trial military prison for nine months was extreme and harsh and warrants a complete dismissal of his case. Manning's defense also claims that his abusive treatment was directed from high up a chain of command.

On Friday, Manning's attorney David Coombs released a 110-page motion detailing the soldier's pretrial confinement conditions during the nine months in the Quantico, Va. military prison.

The motion claims that Manning was punished through "degradation and humiliation" including:

  • Manning was forced for several days to surrender all his clothing at night and stand naked in his cell for roll call.
  • For several days in January last year he was forbidden to wear his glasses and forced to strip down to his underwear during the day.
  • He was forced to sleep beneath a stiff suicide-prevention blanket.
  • Manning suffered an anxiety attack due to harassment by guards.

The motion lists many more abusive scenarios endured by Manning but also claims that the officer who ordered the restrictions was acting on orders from an unidentified three-star general. Coombs claims, the treatment was "retaliatory punishment" after Manning and his defense spoke out over previous treatment.

Manning's lawyers claim there was no legal or medical justification for the harsh treatment and that the treatment contradicted the recommendations of multiple psychiatrists.

Manning's defense will give evidence of his experience during a hearing on October 1-5, according to the document.

Coombs is attempting to get all charges dismissed on the grounds that Manning's pre-trial treatment was illegal and in violation of the constitutional prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment.

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