The U.S. military is currently in the process of transferring PFC Bradley Manning from Virginia’s Quantico to Fort Leavenworth in Kansas.
Military police arrested Manning last year in Iraq after the Army intelligence analyst was accused of passing classified information to WikiLeaks.
Manning has been held in solitary confinement in Quantico under a “prevention of [self] injury order,” which his lawyer termed an unjustified form of coercion.
To be sure, the controversial order stripped Manning of his clothes at night, leaving the PFC only a smock to wear to bed.
However, Manning supporters expressed doubt that his conditions would improve in any noticeable way at Leavenworth.
“Nothing the DoD has done so far with respect to PFC Manning provides any assurance that his basic human and constitutional rights are being protected,” opined Democratic congressman Dennis Kucinich.
“Any move does not change the fact that he has been held under conditions which may constitute cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the 8th amendment of the US constitution.”
But Jeh Johnson, the Pentagon’s general counsel, said Leavenworth would be a more appropriate facility for the WikiLeaks suspect.
“Given the length of time he’s been in pretrial confinement at Quantico, and given what the likely period of pretrial confinement in the future … we reached the judgment this would be the right facility for him.”
Update: The commander of the Kansas facility confirms that Manning will now receive three hours of recreation a day, with the “capability to interact with other pre-trial inmates on a routine basis.”
Joseph Westphal, undersecretary of the army, said: “The place where he will reside, it’s more open. He’s got more space, more ability to interact with other prisoners. He will eat with them …. it is a place where if you’re going to be confined for a longer period of time, you have the ability to interact. You have the ability to exercise, to move around.”
[Via The Guardian]