WASHINGTON (AFP) – Months of "inhumane" solitary confinement are taking a toll on the US Army private suspected of passing secret government files to WikiLeaks, one of his supporters said after paying him a visit.
"It has become obvious to me that (Bradley) Manning's physical and mental well-being are deteriorating," David House wrote on the blog Firedoglake, recounting a visit to the military brig where the accused soldier is being held.
"It's become increasingly clear that the severe, inhumane conditions of his detention are wearing on Manning," he wrote.
Held at a military brig in Virginia at the Quantico Marine base since July, Manning, 23, has been placed under a maximum security regimen because authorities say his escape would pose a risk to national security.
Under the strict rules, Manning is allowed out of his cell for only one hour a day for exercise outside or at an indoor gym, military officers say.
But House said the Pentagon's description of conditions was contradicted by what he learned from Manning.
"He has not been outside or into the brig yard for either recreation nor exercises in four full weeks," House said.
"When told of the Pentagon's statement that he indeed receives exercise, Manning's reply was that he is able to exercise insofar as walking in chains is a form of exercise," he wrote.
As a "precaution," prison authorities have decided not to issue Manning cotton sheets and instead have provided two blankets and a pillow made of material that cannot be torn into pieces.
Manning told his visitor that "his blankets are similar in weight and heft to lead aprons used in X-ray laboratories," House said.
The army soldier was under a "Prevention of Injury" order that was the cause of some of the more strict conditions, House said, even though Manning allegedly had been cleared by a military psychologist.
"What Manning needs, and what his attorney has already urged, is to have the unnecessary 'Prevention of Injury' order lifted that severely restricts his ability to exercise, communicate, and sleep," he wrote.
The Pentagon has rejected allegations Manning is suffering from any abuse and insists he is being treated in the same way as other inmates under the "maximum custody" regime.
The WikiLeaks website has yet to disclose its source for a massive trove of classified US military and diplomatic documents published in recent months, but suspicion has focused on Manning, who worked as a low-ranking army intelligence analyst in Iraq.
Manning was arrested in May and US authorities have yet to say when he will be put on trial on charges of violating federal criminal and military law, including transmitting classified information to a third party.
If found guilty, Manning faces up to 52 years in prison.
Are you effing kidding me? Military brigs are so chill and relaxed, its ridiculous.
The things Manning is subjected to are compleatly within the norm for max security prisoners who are suspected of any potential thoughts of self-harm.
They're just waiting until he cracks, and "confesses" that Assange was a co-conspirator in the leak.
Well the more time he does in pre-trial confinement, the less he will do during his sentence. 2 days of pretrial equals to 1 day of punishment confinement.
However, the federal government now has the power to detain you indefinitely.
Regardless of whether or not you're actually found guilty. All in the name of" national security".
No retreat, No surrender!
20th April 2008
The truth will come out..... eventually...
Joe Bonham;5442921However, the federal government now has the power to detain you indefinitely. [/QUOTE] Not for members of the military, when subjected to the UCMJ and summarily the MCM.
[QUOTE=Joe Bonham;5442921] Regardless of whether or not you're actually found guilty. All in the name of" national security".
You referring to Gitmo?
SCHOFIELD DID 4/30
10th August 2004
In the old days they probably would have shot him for treason.
I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Cooters on fire off the shoulder of General Discussion. I watched spittle-flecked posts glitter in the dark near the Pub. All those moments will
NiteStryker;5443033Not for members of the military, when subjected to the UCMJ and summarily the MCM.
You're not exempt from the civilian justice system just because you're part of the military.
And who says the military wouldn't cooperate with this decision? They've been cheering for every security measure put in place thus far.
You referring to Gitmo?
As of now, yes. Interestingly - ironically - indefinite detainment (without charge or trial) has been passed by President Obama, a so-called "liberal" president.
Yet nobody cares. It'll always happen to someone else, never me.
Red Menace;5443042In the old days they probably would have shot him for treason.
Wish they would do that now.
There is this little thing called a "trial". Perhaps you've heard of it.