ACLU Protests Manning’s Treatment in Letter to DoD
The American Civil Liberties Union calls the treatment of WikiLeaks suspect Bradley Manning unconstitutional and “gratuitously harsh,” in a letter sent Wednesday to U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates.
“The Supreme Court has long held that the government violates the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment whenever it ‘unnecessarily and wantonly inflicts pain,’ the ACLU’s letter read. “No legitimate purpose is served by keeping Private Manning stripped naked; in prolonged isolated confinement and utter idleness; subjected to sleep deprivation through repeated physical inspections throughout the night; deprived of any meaningful opportunity to exercise, even in his cell; and stripped of his reading glasses so that he cannot read. Absent any evident justification, such treatment is clearly forbidden by our Constitution.”
The ACLU’s statement follows the resignation of former State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley, who was pushed out of his job after publicly calling Manning’s treatment by the military “counterproductive and stupid.” President Barack Obama, when asked about Crowley’s statements at a press conference, said Pentagon officials had assured him that Manning’s treatment was appropriate and was being meted out according to procedures.
The former Army intelligence analyst faces more than two dozen charges, among them a capital offense — though the Army has said it isn’t pursuing the death penalty. Manning is currently awaiting a “706 board” inquiry requested by his attorney to determine if he suffered a “severe mental disease or defect” at the time of his alleged leaking. If he’s found to have been mentally fit, the case will proceed to the military equivalent of a grand jury.
In recent days, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post all published editorials condemning Manning’s treatment. The New York Times called his treatment “creepy” and reminiscent of the Bush administration’s handling of terror suspects held at the Guantanamo prison.
Regardless of your opinion of Bradley Manning and his actions, one must all remember the Eighth Amendment protects all U.S citizens and should be upheld for all citizens. Bradley Manning is a U.S citizen who served his country and was in combat to protect the liberties and freedom U.S citizens enjoy today. He should be allowed his day in court to be judged, not tormented and tortured by military officials.