From Solitary Watch
David E. Coombs, attorney for accused Wikileaker Bradley Manning, has made public a motion“to dismiss all charges owing to the unlawful pretrial punishment to which PFC Manning was subjected while at Marine Corps Base, Quantico.” Manning spent close to nine months in solitary confinement in the Brig at Quantico, from July 2010 to April 2011, before being transferred into less restrictive conditions at Fort Leavenworth.
Manning was held in conditions that were denounced as “cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment” by UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan Mendez. His lawyer is now arguing that they were also in “flagrant violation” of military code. Keep in mind that Manning had not–and still has not–been convicted of any crime, nor had he been accused of any disciplinary violations while in custody.
According to the motion, as summarzied on Coombs’s website, “a decision had been made early on at Quantico to keep PFC Manning in MAX Custody and in Prevention of Injury (POI) status — in effect, the functional equivalent of solitary confinement.” The motion further argues that “Multiple psychiatrists at the Quantico Brig recommended for almost nine months that PFC Manning be downgraded from POI status. The psychiatrists informed Quantico Brig officials that PFC Manning’s POI status was not warranted because he did not present a risk to himself and that the POI status was actually causing PFC Manning psychological harm. The psychiatrists’ recommendations were outright ignored by Quantico officials.”
The defense claims it has documents that “reveal that the senior Brig officer who ordered PFC Manning to be held in MAX and in POI was receiving his marching orders from a three-star general. They also reveal that everyone at Quantico was complicit in the unlawful pretrial punishment, from senior officers to enlisted marines.”
Many aspects of Bradley Manning’s conditions of confinement at Quantico will sound familiar to the tens of thousands of American prisoners who have spent time in solitary confinement in supermax prisons and Special Housing Units. Additional restrictions were put in place supposedly because he was at risk of harming himself, though they in fact seem only to have added to his torture. (more…)