Bradley Manning: A US Political Prisoner Facing Inhumane Treatment
On January 24, human rights organization Amnesty International accused the United States of “inhumane treatment” over the case of the detention of Bradley Manning. Manning, the soldier accused of leaking information to WikiLeaks, has been held for 23 hours a day in a bare solitary cell under harsh pre-trial detention conditions. Bradley Manning has been deprived of a pillow, sheets and his personal possessions since July 2010.
Last week, Amnesty International wrote a letter addressed to US Defense Secretary Robert Gates calling for the restrictions on Bradley Manning to be reviewed on the ground of basic human rights violations. Last Tuesday, Manning was placed on “suicide risk”, which resulted in him being stripped to his clothes, except for his underwear, and the confiscation of his prescription eye glasses for most of the day, which (according to Manning) left him “essentially blind”. Manning is classed as a “maximum custody” detainee. This means he is shackled at the hands and legs during all visits. Bradley Manning is also detained under a Prevention Of Injury (POI) status, despite recommendations from his military psychiatrist that it is not necessary.
Prisoners with POI status are subject to extra restriction such as checks by prison guards every five minutes, which results in constant sleep deprivation. There have been no reasons given by the Department of Defense for Manning’s maximum custody and POI status, and Manning’s lawyers requests challenging the restrictions have been ignored.
“We are concerned that the conditions inflicted on Bradley Manning are unnecessary severe and amount to inhumane treatment by US authorities. Manning has not been convicted of any offense, but military authorities appear to be using all available means to punish him while in detention. This undermines the US commitment to the principle of the presumption of innocence. The repressive conditions imposed on Manning breach the US’s obligations to treat detainees with humanity and dignity,” said Susan Lee from Amnesty International.
To read the letter sent by Amnesty international to Secretary of Defense Gates click here. To stay informed on the harsh detention of Bradley Manning by the Department of Defense, please visit the Bradley Manning Support Network.