Barack Obama: You visited Mandela's cell; now make a televised visit to Bradley Manning's-Petition
Bradley Manning is the U.S. Private accused of acting as a whistleblower, using Wikileaks to expose shocking state secrets and atrocities.
After his arrest in mid-2010, Manning was held under an extreme form of solitary confinement in Quantico, Virginia, causing him profound psychological harm.
- After a 14-month investigation, Juan E. Mendez, a United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture, published a report saying Manning's detention conditions had been "cruel, inhuman and degrading."
- Mendez concluded: "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".
- Amnesty International, in a letter to US Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, complained of the "unnecessarily harsh and punitive" conditions Manning suffered, of a kind that "cause psychological impairment, including depression, anxiety and loss of concentration", and breach the USA's obligations under international treaties and standards.
- In April 2011, around 295 academics, most of them legal scholars, pointed out that Manning's treatment violated the US Constitution.
- State Department Spokesperson Philip J. Crowley said that Manning was being "mistreated" in a way he called "ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid". Crowley was forced to resign two days later.
- Manning was held in solitary confinement in a tiny, 6 by 12 foot windowless cell for 23 hours a day. During the other hour, he was allowed to walk in circles around another room by himself.
- Despite the lack of risk he posed, Manning was held as a "maximum security pre-trial detainee", under a "Prevention of Injury" classification, and thus subject to severe restrictions including shackling when meeting visitors, even though these were non-contact visits.
- Manning was kept on suicide watch for nine months - an "unheard of" practice, according to psychology of imprisonment expert Craig Haney; harrassed by guards every 5 minutes; prevented from sleeping; and woken at night if he covered his face or turned away from the cell door. He was also deprived of clothes; forced to sleep in his pants (and later naked) under a blanket that chafed his bare skin; deprived of sheets and a separate pillow; forced to stand naked for inspection in front of his cell; and deprived of his glasses.