2011-04-17

Bradley Manning

The other day we were having dinner, and I asserted that Bradley Manning was being tortured. Scepticism was evident in some quarters. One problem is that we don't know for sure how he's being treated. The Guardian reports that on Monday 11th April 2011:
[Juan] Mendez, the UN special rapporteur on torture, said: "I am deeply disappointed and frustrated by the prevarication of the US government with regard to my attempts to visit Mr Manning."
There's been a letter published by US legal scholars including Bruce Ackerman (Yale Law School) and Yochai Benkler (Harvard Law School) which states:
For nine months, Manning has been confined to his cell for twenty-three hours a day. During his one remaining hour, he can walk in circles in another room, with no other prisoners present. He is not allowed to doze off or relax during the day, but must answer the question “Are you OK?” verbally and in the affirmative every five minutes. At night, he is awakened to be asked again “Are you OK?” every time he turns his back to the cell door or covers his head with a blanket so that the guards cannot see his face. During the past week he was forced to sleep naked and stand naked for inspection in front of his cell, and for the indefinite future must remove his clothes and wear a “smock” under claims of risk to himself that he disputes.
You may dispute that it's torture, but it's surely mistreatment.

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