28 December 2010
Bradley Manning spent his 23rd birthday on Friday completely isolated, just as he has every day for the last five months months in his cell at the Quantico Marine Base.
Manning is the Army Private accused of leaking classified documents to Wikileaks. Since July, he has been held in cruel and inhumane conditions akin to how the US detains “enemy combatants.” He spends each day completely isolated, with severe restrictions placed on basic activities like sleep and exercise. Yet he has not been convicted of any crime.
The extreme isolation in which Manning has spent every day of the last five months is soul-crushing. It’s already taking its toll: Bradley Manning’s physical and mental health are suffering, according to his attorney and friend who have seen him in prison.
Bradley Manning deserves humane treatment while he awaits trial. Can you please add your name to our letter urging Commanding Officer of Quantico Marine Corp Base to lift the heavy restrictions of Manning’s detention?
Bradley’s friend, David House, will deliver your letter to the Commanding Officer at the Quantico Marine Base brig when he visits Bradley next month.
While Manning is held in “maximum custody,” the military’s most severe detention policy, he is also under a longstanding “Prevention of Injury” (POI) order that adds additional restrictions beyond those of other prisoners. While POI orders typically last a week or two, Manning has been held under a POI order for the entirety of his detention.
A day in the life of Bradley Manning is isolating, lonely, and frustrating.
- Manning stays in his cell for 23 hours a day.
- Guards must check on him every 5 minutes, and he must respond each time.
- He is not allowed to sleep between 5am and 8pm.
- Substantive exercise is not allowed beyond walking, potentially in chains.
- Communication with other people in the brig is banned, and he cannot write to people outside beyond the few a list approved by the brig commander; any unapproved letters he receives are destroyed.
- He has not been allowed to read newspapers or watch international news during TV time
- Comfortable sleep is impossible; he must surrender his clothes each night, has only a heavy “suicide blanket” akin to an x-ray vest, and guards must be able to see his face at all times.
A psychologist has said Manning isn’t a danger to himself or others, and the POI order is unnecessary. His lawyer has also been unable to have the POI order lifted. But it is clear that Bradley Manning has been subjected to inhumane and unnecessary punishment without being convicted of a crime, and it must stop now.
No matter what you think of Manning’s alleged acts, there is no reason to subject him to these extreme conditions. Thank you for standing up for human rights.