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Bradley Manning Update

April 23, 2011

Army Denies Mistreatment, but Will Move
Soldier in Wikileaks Case to Leavenworth

Though the Army continues to deny any mistreatment of Private Bradley Manning, it is evidently responding to growing public criticism, and has now moved him to its main prison facility at Leavenworth, Kansas. However, as pointed out by Rupert Cornwell, writing for The Independent (UK), the exact conditions under which he will be held remain to be seen. The Army has two prisons at the site – the Disciplinary Barracks (USDB), its only maximum security prison (which hosts the military’s “death row”), and a medium security facility which would normally be used for prisoners awaiting trial. Should Manning be held in the USDB, his fellow prisoners will include former Abu Ghraib guard Charles Graner, currently doing 10 years for prisoner abuse.
            The Army and the Obama Administration have been under intense public criticism over Manning’s treatment including a recent open letter from Amnesty International. (Cornwell’s article includes a good summary and timeline of the case.) Despite the recent developments, AI promises to keep up the pressure. According to Susan Lee, its International Director for the Americas: 

“We believe sustained public pressure for the US government to uphold human rights in Bradley Manning’s case has contributed to this move. We hope Bradley Manning’s conditions will significantly improve at Fort Leavenworth, but we will be watching how he is treated very closely. His conditions at Quantico have been a breach of international standards for humane treatment of an untried prisoner.” 

Cornwell points out that Manning will undergo a “risk assessment,” which could take as long as a week, before the conditions of his imprisonment are decided by the Army. According to Lee, “Until this assessment, it is still not possible to know how Bradley Manning is going to be treated, and what restrictions he will be under at the new detention center.”
            Nor will Manning’s past treatment be forgotten. “While the defense hopes that the move to Fort Leavenworth will result in the improvement of PFC Manning’s conditions of confinement,” wrote his Attorney, David Coombs, “it nonetheless intends to pursue redress at the appropriate time for the flagrant violations of his constitutional rights by the Quantico confinement facility.”

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