Amnesty International is calling on the UK government to intervene on Bradley Manning’s behalf, the alleged WikiLeaks suspect and former US army intelligence analyst, demanding that he receive the same treatment as a UK citizen, reports the Guardian. It’s alleged that most of the material leaked in recent months by Julian Assange’s whistleblowing website was provided by Manning.
Although he is an American citizen by birth, he also qualifies as a UK citizen by descent from his Welsh born mother. Under the British Nationality Act of 1981, anyone born outside the UK after January 1, 1983 who has a mother who is a UK citizen by birth is British by descent. UK campaigners say the conditions in which he is being held in Quantico, Virginia are wholly disproportionate.
Amnesty International UK spokeswoman Kate Allen Tuesday said, “Bradley Manning’s Welsh parentage means that the UK government should be demanding that the conditions of his detention are in line with international standards and that his ‘maximum custody’ status does not impair his ability to defend himself”.
Held in a military brig under maximum security in Quantico, Virginia since July last year, Manning was recently put on suicide watch for two days. Not only is he alone in his cell 23 hours a day and checked every five minutes, but his hands and feet are shackled when he has visitors. Manning, 23, is charged with eight violations of federal criminal law, including transmitting classified information to a third party, and two counts under military law stemming from the first WikiLeaks release last year.
The British government has not yet followed up with Manning, but in December, the U.N. opened an investigation into whether his treatment from the U.S. military qualified as torture. Manning awaits his court martial hearing, which will probably lead to life-long imprisonment. (See Inside WikiLeaks’ Bunker)