In an admission of government guilt, Military Judge Denise Lind declared at a pretrial hearing this past Tuesday that Army Private Bradley Manning’s detention at Quantico Marine Base in Virginia was indeed “more rigorous than necessary.” She also stated that his treatment “became excessive in relation to legitimate government interests.” Manning was arrested in May 2010 and has been awaiting trial for allegedly leaking 250,000 low level diplomatic cables and videos to the website Wikileaks.
Judge Lind awarded Manning a 112 day credit toward any future sentence as compensation for the harsh treatment he received while held in Quantico. During his 9 month stay, Manning was forced to remain naked in solitary confinement in a 6 by 8 foot windowless cell despite psychiatrists’ warnings against such severe treatment. While prison officials claimed he was a suicide risk, Manning’s prison conditions were considered a clear violation of Article 13 of the uniform code of military justice which protects prisoners who are awaiting trial.
The ruling is seen as a symbolic legal victory for Manning, whose lawyers, apart from a full dismissal of all charges, would have rather seen a compensation of 10 days for every day of mistreatment adding up to seven years, rather than the current 112 day reduction which only amounts to less than four months. While Manning has already pled guilt to 2 of the 22 charges against him in hopes of a more lenient sentence, his lawyers are now saying that he would admit to more crimes if given a maximum sentence of 20 years. The trial which was previously set for March has now been pushed to June 3rd as prosecutors need more time to prepare evidence which they claim shows that Osama bin Laden was given access to the leaked documents by an al Qaeda member.
Guest: Kevin Gosztola, reporter with Firedoglake.com
Click here to read Gosztola’s work on the case of Bradley Manning.