by Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich
Washington, Mar 4, 2011
Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) is today releasing letters from the Secretaries of the Defense and the Army that respond to repeated requests to visit with Private First Class (Pfc.) Bradley Manning, the soldier accused of leaking confidential materials to Wikileaks. Kucinich is releasing the letters after new allegations emerged of Manning being stripped naked and left in his cell for seven hours.
“After initial allegations of mistreatment, I requested a visit with Private Manning to see for myself the conditions of his treatment. Despite the fact that Manning has not been found guilty of any crime, his lawyer reports that he is in isolation 23 out 24 hours every day, conditions which may violate his 8th Amendment protection from ‘cruel and unusual’ punishment. This treatment is in stark contrast to a presumption of innocence and raises questions of whether Pfc. Manning can be fit for trial.” said Kucinich.
“My request to visit with Pfc. Manning must not be delayed further. Today we have new reports that Manning was stripped naked and left in his cell for seven hours. While refusing to explain the justification for the treatment, a marine spokesman confirmed the actions but claimed they were ‘not punitive.’
“Is this Quantico or Abu Ghraib? Officials have confirmed the ‘non-punitive’ stripping of an American soldier who has not been found guilty of any crime. This ‘non-punitive’ action would be considered a violation of the Army Field Manual if used in an interrogation overseas. The justification for and purpose of this action certainly raises questions of ‘cruel and unusual punishment,’ and could constitute a potential violation of international law,” said Kucinich.
The Army Field Manual, 2-22.3 (FM 34-52): Human Intelligence Collector Operations, Page 5-21, section 5-75 clearly states that: ‘If used in conjunction with intelligence interrogations, prohibited actions include, but are not limited to- Forcing the detainee to be naked, perform sexual acts or pose in a sexual manner.’
“Who ordered him stripped?” asked Kucinich.
In addition to requesting to visit with Private Manning, Kucinich has also asked Defense Secretary Robert Gates to explain reports that the Army ignored evidence of mental health problems suffered by Manning before he was sent oversees to Iraq.