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Wednesday
Jan262011

Pentagon Disputes Bradley Manning Mistreatment Allegations

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell Wednesday disputed characterizations that Army Private Bradley Manning, charged with leaking classified information to WikiLeaks, is receiving harsher treatment at the Marine brigade where he is being detained.

Morrell told reporters at a Pentagon briefing that Manning’s detention is consistent with what other maximum security detainees at the brigade in Quantico, Virginia, would receive.

Manning supporters have alleged that he is being held in solitary confinement at the facility and facing tighter restrictions than other prisoners.   “Assertions by liberal bloggers or network reporters or others that he is being mistreated, or somehow treated differently than others, in isolation, are just not accurate,” said Morrell.

 “'He is in a cell by himself, but that is like every single other pretrial detainee at the brig,” said Morrell. “It just so happens that the configuration of the brig is that every individual is confined to his or her own cell.”

He added that Manning “is being held in the same quarters section with other pretrial detainees. He's allowed to watch television. He's allowed to read newspapers. He's allowed one hour per day of exercise,” Morrell said.  Defense officials say Manning is allowed to exercise in an exercise room, but not in his cell -- a rule consistent with the detention practices for all maximum security detainees at the facility.

Morrell said Manning was placed under two days of suicide watch last week, a decision that was made at the brigade commander’s discretion.  The brigade received a new commander this week as part of a scheduled rotation not related to that decision.

Manning  is being detained under charges filed last summer that he leaked to WikiLeaks a video of a 2007 Apache helicopter attack in Baghdad that killed several civilians.  But Manning is also suspected of having been behind the leak of thousands of U.S. military documents from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, as well as hundreds of thousands of State Department cables.  Morrell said today that Manning is a “person of interest” in those leaks.

Manning had access to the documents while serving in Baghdad as an intelligence analyst.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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