Latest post on Left Futures

The Government must stake up the case of Bradley Manning

Now that the Guardian has revealed that Bradley Manning, the US soldier suspected of having passed US secrets to WikiLeaks, is a UK citizen by descent from his Welsh mother, it is imperative that the British government be urged to take up his case as it (eventually) did not only with British citizens but also other former British residents at Guantánamo Bay. Amnesty’s UK director, Kate Allen, has called for Foreign Office officials to visit him “just as they would any other British person detained overseas and potentially facing trial on very serious charges.” Bradley Manning is being subjected to inhumane conditions and all those who support Wikileaks should not forget that this young man could suffer a terrible penalty for very many years.

The Amnesty news release reads as follows:

Amnesty International has urged the US authorities to alleviate the harsh pre-trial detention conditions of Bradley Manning, the soldier accused of leaking information to Wikileaks.

The US army private, 23, has been held for 23 hours a day in a sparsely furnished solitary cell and deprived of a pillow, sheets, and personal possessions since July 2010.

Amnesty International last week wrote to the US Defence secretary, Robert Gates, calling for the restrictions on Bradley Manning to be reviewed. In the same week, the soldier suffered several days of increased restrictions by being temporarily categorised as a suicide risk.

We are concerned that the conditions inflicted on Bradley Manning are unnecessarily severe and amount to inhumane treatment by the US authorities,” said Susan Lee, Amnesty International’s Programme Director for the Americas.

“Manning has not been convicted of any offence, but military authorities appear to be using all available means to punish him while in detention. This undermines the United States’ commitment to the principle of the presumption of innocence.”

Last Tuesday, Manning was placed on suicide risk, which resulted in him being stripped of his clothes apart from underwear, and the confiscation of his prescription glasses for most of the day, which Manning says left him in “essential blindness“.

Following protests from Manning and his lawyers, the “suicide risk” restrictions were lifted on Thursday.

Manning is classed as a maximum custody detainee, despite having no history of violence or disciplinary offences in custody. This means he is shackled at the hands and legs during all visits and denied opportunities to work, which would allow him to leave his cell.

Manning is also detained under a Prevention of Injury (POI) assignment, despite a recommendation from his official military psychiatrist that this is not necessary. Detainees with POI status are subjected to extra restrictions such as checks by guards every five minutes and bars on sleeping.

There have been no formal reasons given for Manning’s maximum custody and POI status, yet his lawyers’ attempts to challenge the restrictions have been ignored by the authorities.

The repressive conditions imposed on Manning breach the US’s obligations to treat detainees with humanity and dignity,” said Susan Lee.

We are also concerned that isolation and prolonged cellular confinement, which evidence shows can cause psychological impairment, may undermine Bradley Manning’s ability to defend himself,” said Susan Lee.

In April 2010, the Wikileaks organization released leaked footage of attacks by US Apache helicopters, which killed two Reuters news staff in Iraq in 2007.

Manning was arrested the following month and then charged with “transferring classified data” and “delivering national defence information to an unauthorised source”.

Wikileaks has also since released large batches of information on the Iraq war, the Afghanistan war, and US diplomatic communications.

Manning could face a maximum sentence of 52 years in jail.

One Comment

  1. Malcolm Bush says:

    I do believe we should have a more vigorous campaign on this. There is some campaigning from people in the US, but very little from the UK. It is very important because it’s not just this one issue that brings the US Governments integrity into question, it’s just one of thousands.

© 2024 Left Futures | Powered by WordPress | theme originated from PrimePress by Ravi Varma