U.N. to Investigate Treatment of Bradley Manning

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Both The
and the
Associated Press
are reporting that the U.N.’s top official
in charge of torture is now formally investigating the conditions
under which the U.S. is detaining accused WikiLeaks leaker Bradley
Manning. Last week, I
described the inhumane terms of his detention
at a Marine brig
in Quantico, Virginia, including being held 23 out of 24 hours
a day in solitary confinement for seven straight months and counting

as well as other punitive measures (such as strict prohibitions
on any exercise inside his cell and the petty denial of pillows
and sheets). Manning’s lawyer, former U.S. Army Major and Iraq War
veteran David Coombs, thereafter
publicly confirmed those facts
, and then announced
two days ago
that efforts to persuade brig officials to allow
more human conditions have failed, meaning it is likely that Manning
will languish under these repressive restraints for many more months
to come, at least.

In addition
to confirming the facts I reported, Maj. Coombs added several disturbing
new ones, including the paltry, isolated terms of Manning’s one-hour-a-day
so-called "exercise" time (he’s "taken to an empty
room and only allowed to walk," "normally just walks figure
eights in the room," "if he indicates that he no long
feels like walking, he is immediately returned to his cell");
the bizarre requirement that, despite not being on suicide watch,
Manning respond to guards all day, every day, by saying "yes"
every 5 minutes (even though guards cannot and "do not
engage in conversation with" him); and various sleep-disruptive
measures (he is barred from sleeping at any time from 5:00 am–8:00
pm, and, during the night, "if the guards cannot see PFC Manning
clearly, because he has a blanket over his head or is curled up
towards the wall, they will wake him").

the rest of the article

24, 2010

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