U.N. official critical of Manning detention
Bradley Manning faces 22 charges, including aiding the enemy
March 13th, 2012
12:50 PM ET

U.N. official critical of Manning detention

U.S. Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, accused of aiding the enemy by passing reams of classified military documents to WikiLeaks, may have been treated inhumanely by the U.S. military since his arrest in 2010, according to a report from the United Nations' top official on torture.

The findings are the result of a 14-month long probe conducted by U.N. special rapporteur Juan Mendez and released late last month. They could spark a debate about Manning's case as it winds toward a court-martial later this year. The latest hearing in Manning's case is scheduled for later this week, at which motions made when Manning was charged on February 23 will be heard.

In his February 29 report, Mendez wrote that he appealed to the United States to get an unmonitored interview with Manning but was unsuccessful. He told the British newspaper The Guardian that he cannot give a definitive report on Manning's treatment because he cannot visit with the soldier alone.

The soldier has been held in military detention since his arrest in May 2010. He was then an Army intelligence analyst at Forward Operating Base Hammer outside Baghdad where, prosecutors say, he put software on secure computers that allowed him to download classified material and burn it to a compact disc.

Manning is facing 22 charges, including aiding the enemy, which could send him to prison for life.

Read more about Manning's upbringing in Oklahoma and how he came to be suspected as WikiLeaks' source

Mendez wrote that Manning was kept alone in a cell for 23 hours a day for nearly one year at the Marine Corps base at Quantico, Virginia, where he was kept before his transfer to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, in April 2011. The solitary confinement ended when Manning was transferred to Leavenworth, Mendez wrote.

"The Special Rapporteur concludes that imposing seriously punitive conditions of detention on someone who has not been found guilty of any crime is a violation of his right to physical and psychological integrity as well as of his presumption of innocence," the report said.

Mendez stressed that "solitary confinement is a harsh measure which may cause serious psychological and physiological adverse effects on individuals regardless of their specific conditions." Depending on the circumstances of Manning's case, the decision to hold Manning in this manner might have breached an international convention against torture.

Manning's attorney David Coombs has long decried on his blog that Manning was treated inhumanely at Quantico. Coombs has also used his blog to hint at how he might defend his client.

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Filed under: WikiLeaks
soundoff (143 Responses)
  1. john kesrouan

    For almost a year this Army soldier was held in a Navy brig staffed by Marines. This in itself was a outrage and his own service chief put up with this for far too long.
    That aside, he committed a grave error in judgement and he's already paying for it.

    March 13, 2012 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jack

      Innocent until proven guilty, the government made a grave error when they started to forget the principles the country was founded on, they are trying to turn us into England 300 years ago. You ignorant people aren't much help, you sound like a mob of rednecks with pitch forks.

      March 13, 2012 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Savior

      We don't carry pitchforks. We carry a a rope.can y'all show us the way to a tall oak tree?

      March 13, 2012 at 11:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • cpinde

      He has been kept in solitary for his own safety, military men and women don't put up with suspected enemies of this country. He was on suicide watch while at quantico.

      March 14, 2012 at 8:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Andy

      I have to agree with Jack. If our country doesn't hold up it's own laws whats the point in defending it? Torturing him and punishing him before after being convicted in a fair trial just gives all the more reason for Manning to betray a country that is not the country he signed up to defend.

      March 14, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • E7Hotel

      Okay, a couple corrections needed. The brig at the Quantico Marine Corps base is a Marine Corps brig not a Navy Brig, it is also a stones throw from the FBI Academy also there at the base, and hence the most secure facility in the area for a high profile prisoner. Previous prisoners include John Hinkley who attempted an assasination of President Reagan to name one. Also as "cpinde" correctly points out, he is there for his own safety, whether you agree or not, one of the justice systems requirements is to ensure the safety of the accused until he gets his day in court to defend himself. If the system didn't consider him innocent until proven guilty then they would just throw him in the general population where he would be treated like a pedophile in any US prison in this country, need I say more. He has neither been convicted or punished yet, so stop all the whinning about justice and let it take it's due course and stop trying to read into decisions about his confinement you know nothing about, which by the way is reviewed periodically. The military justice system (UCMJ) is the most fair and legally balanced system there is, more so then our own public system, with addtional after trial reviews and all. Retired Marine GySgt and Legal Services Chief, MCB Quantico.

      March 14, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Hannah

    He aided and abetted the enemy. He has violated his oath taken as a soldier.

    March 13, 2012 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Zoglet

      Does that justify teh USG/military breaking their own rules?
      I dont think so.

      March 13, 2012 at 11:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • no

      he did not aid any enemies. he leaked that info for a reason. this country is corrupt

      March 14, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  3. enkephalin07

    The UCMJ still respects the legal convention that prisoners are innocent until proven guilty. If that's the case, which I don't doubt, then let officers qualified to determine sentencing under the code deliver it, and until then treat him with the dignity of a soldier.

    I believe prisoner treatment does need to be reviewed if we want to maintain the human rights examples we want the rest of the world to follow. His JAG should be looking out for him; I would ask him for his assessment on Manning's treatment first.

    March 13, 2012 at 11:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • JPalatine

      Probably the only reason he has not been subjected to the full weight of the punishment he deserves, is the bargaining to find out how much else he has and who was in it with him. Even more than betraying his country, he betrayed fellow men and women in the services and cother civilians around the world who were aiding them.

      March 13, 2012 at 11:57 pm | Report abuse |
  4. partysstink

    The UN needs to go away.

    March 13, 2012 at 11:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bogus Boggs

      The UN is a crowd of cowards that couldn't run away fast enough....

      March 13, 2012 at 11:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • reality

      Cowards are the people who just bully weak and defenseless people.

      March 14, 2012 at 3:18 am | Report abuse |
  5. Bogus Boggs

    Bradley Manning made his bed, and now he gets to sleep in it...
    To those of you "offended" by his treatment, exactly WHAT did you expect? Whether you agree with American foreign policy or not, we were engaged in two wars when Manning "allegedly" violated his oath and gave classified material to a foreigner named Julian Assange, who proceeded to disseminate it across the Internet. It DOES NOT MATTER if you were opposed to our being in Iraq or Afghanistan, Manning did not have the right to do (allegedly) what he did! He is NOT Daniel Elsberg, and Iraq was not Vietnam! Apples and oranges! Bradley Manning was NOT drafted, and there was nothing that forced him to join the Army! He did so of his own free will, just like he stole classified information (allegedly)! What he did was commit an act of treason (allegedly), and NO COUNTRY in the world treats anyone they think is a potential traitor well! Was he supposed to be given bail? I think not, and perhaps Mr. Manning should have thought of the consequences of his actions before he did what he did (allegedly). Mr. Manning should prepare himself for the dishonorable discharge that is on its way along with a 25 to Life sentence in Leavenworth! John Walker Lindh (Taliban Johnny) has served 10 years of his 20 year sentence, and I have as much sympathy for him as I do Mr. Manning....

    March 14, 2012 at 12:15 am | Report abuse |
    • toguh

      Bradley Manning is in jail... but what about those killers in the video that leaked.... they go free? Bradley Manning denounced a war crime and now he is in jail? what a stupid society we live in!!!

      March 14, 2012 at 8:52 am | Report abuse |
  6. YouF00L2012

    these so called "patriots" that say he deserves this and that dont know a damn thing...what about all the knowledge we gained from wikileaks? if it wasnt for this brave young man you wouldnt know of how two faced the ruling system is...yall kiss our goverments a$$ as if they do good for us...whens the last time they bailed you out?? whens the last time they told the truth?? whens the last time we where at peace from war?? whens the last time you trusted your goverment?? when will they actually care about us??

    March 14, 2012 at 1:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Bogus Boggs

      When's the last time you had a coherent thought?
      Exactly how OLD are you? 18?

      March 14, 2012 at 1:45 am | Report abuse |
    • no


      and bogus is bogus.

      March 14, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  7. SSG Zackary T. Dryer

    Mannin is not a Soldier, he is a traitor. He put the lives of every Soldier in the millitary are risk when he aided the enemy. The hundreds of thousands of Soldiers that put their lives on the line for you every day feel slighted when you people take sympathy on an ENEMY who threated the chances of them making it home to their spouses and children. And since all of you obviously are not willing to rationaly think about it, it will spell out for you why the TRAITOR is in solitary. The men and women who are in the same brigg as the TRAITOR are military as well, many with loved ones and friend still in the fight. If you put a TRAITOR in their midst, he would last exactly one second. Which is one second longer than he would last in a room with me. Manning is no longer a Soldier, he is an enemy combatant and should be treated as such. Period.

    March 14, 2012 at 2:14 am | Report abuse |
  8. sean

    He is a traitor. He should be put in front of a firing squad and then hung

    March 14, 2012 at 4:13 am | Report abuse |
    • yepskidaisie

      America should implement what Ghana has been doing for years,"instant justice". He/she/it should have been executed on the spot. Why waste the time with a trial.

      March 14, 2012 at 8:57 am | Report abuse |
  9. Simon S. Gutierrez

    Years from now, Pfc. B. Manning will be looked upon for what he really is, a Hero, and a Christian. When any government engage's in corruption, it is the time for that one brave man to step forwarded, and hopefully Save a Nation from itself.

    March 14, 2012 at 6:04 am | Report abuse |
  10. Nettechdude

    I think this soldier has the right to presumed innocent until proven guilty by a jury based on the evidence. Until that occurs, he is an innocent although detained suspect. Until he is proven guilty, he deserves to have the same humane treatment that you or I deserve. I'm not making excuses for him if he is indeed guilty, but can anyone who has not served in combat, myself included really appreciate what all our armed forces go through in a combat zone. I am not saying that excuses him, but there is more to this I am sure then is publicly being disclosed. If you recall, this all came to light over the release of the video of a Apache crew decimating either a news crew I think or some other group of civilians there that was hushed up. The ends don't justify the means necessarily, but again there is more to it then this, and more involved I am sure, a mere PFC isn't going to be able to get past all the safeguards on his own.

    March 14, 2012 at 7:58 am | Report abuse |
  11. Ct

    Obama signed away our rights to a fair trial New Years...so this means nothing...

    March 14, 2012 at 8:16 am | Report abuse |

    are u kidding me? he hasnt hurt anybody? do u know how many people he got killed because of his actions? i am amazed a couple of Americans (and i hate to call them that) are saying he deserves a medal and should be released. he is a traitor and should be hung but he wont because of cry baby liberals. screw inmate manning.

    March 14, 2012 at 9:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Rick

      None. His diplomatic memo releases are embarassing, but they certainly demonstrate to the rest of the world how two-faced we are.

      March 14, 2012 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Dave C.

    He held a TOP SECRET clearance and violated his agreement of secrecy thus compromising American/Allied lives, safety, and our mission. He holds much more knowledge in his head and should be held apart from others until all that information becomes declassified through time, at least 25 years. Traitors suck. He's fortunate they are not seeking the death penalty. He should count his blessings.

    March 14, 2012 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Rick

      The real traitors are those in the military who sought to hide the video of an Apache helicopter murdering an iraqi news crew and their security staff.

      March 14, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Ron

    Treated inhumanely by the US military? No surprise here. Moving on.

    March 14, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Rick

    Manning isn't even a violent person and he's being treated like a Taliban terrorist. Meanwhile the soldier that murdered 16 afghan women and children and burned the bodies is being treated with kid gloves by the military.

    March 14, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
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