Bradley Manning, the US soldier accused of passing on some 720,000 diplomatic and military documents to the whistle-blower site Wikileaks, will no longer be held in solitary confinement. According to USA Today, Manning will be housed with other medium-security military prisoners at the military prison in Fort Leavenworth in Kansas, where he was transferred last week.
Following his arrest almost a year ago on May 26, 2010, Manning has been held on a military brig in Quantico, Virginia. He was held in solitary confinement for 23 hours there and required to strip naked at night, and to wear a “suicide-proof smock” while he slept.
Manning has been charged with “aiding the enemy,” a capital offense. Over the past year, Wikileaks has published thousands of classified documents, including US diplomatic cables spanning five decades; top secret documents about the Iraq War and the war in Afghanistan; and, most recently, 759 classified military documents that provide new details about the men held at the Guantánamo Bay prison in Cuba as well as evidence against the 172 men who are still detained there.
Says USA Today about the change in the confinement of Manning:
The announcement came as the Army took reporters on a prison tour to try to counter reports of Manning’s previous harsh, solitary confinement at the Marine Corps brig in Quantico, Va. No photos or videotaping were allowed.
Prison commander Lt. Col. Dawn Hilton told reporters that Manning had passed physical and psychiatric evaluations given to new inmates and will be housed — in his own 80-square-foot cell — amid about 10 other prisoners awaiting trial, the Associated Press reports. More prison details here (pdf).
Concerns about Manning’s treatment have been raised by the United Nations special rapporteur on torture Juan Mendez, by the Bradley Manning Support Network and by 250 of the US’s most eminent legal scholars, who recently signed a public letter protesting Manning’s treatment. The letter was published in the New York Review of Books and written by Bruce Ackerman of Yale Law School and Yochai Benkler of Harvard Law School.
Take action and sign this petition to end the inhumane treatment of Bradley Manning.
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