Bradley Manning lawyer argues soldier’s confinement was too harsh
Nov. 28, 2012
By John Bailey
FORT MEADE, Md. — During a pre-trial hearing Tuesday, the defense for Army Private First Class Bradley Manning — accused of leaking thousands of classified documents to the website Wikileaks – began making the case that Manning’s charges should be dismissed, saying the Army private’s confinement conditions constitute illegal punishment.
Pfc. Manning’s defense team alleges he was improperly classified as a high security risk and as a risk to himself while confined at Quantico, which resulted in Manning being kept on 23-hour lockdown in a small cell. At one point, his clothes were taken from him at night.
David Coombs, Manning’s lead attorney, spent more than six hours questioning retired Marine Corps Col. Daniel Choike (pronounced CHOY-kee), who was commander of the Quantico brig at the time. Coombs asked Choike about a number of emails sent among the brig staff indicating that some at the facility believed that Manning did not require such harsh confinement.
Judges can dismiss charges if treatment prior to trial is egregiously harsh, but it is rare.
Manning’s motion is filed under Article 13 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which bars any punishment or penalty other than arrest or confinement while the accused awaits trial.
The brig staff classified Manning as maximum security, usually reserved for violent offenders, and as in need of protection from injury, a classification for prisoners who may harm themselves. The defense argues that Manning needed neither classification and that his status led to unfairly harsh confinement conditions.
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