UK must intervene to stop the torture of Bradley Manning

Press Release from SACC

Following the revelation that US army whistleblower Bradley Manning is a UK citizen, Scotland Against Criminalising Communities (SACC) says that the British Government must demand that the US immediately cease its torture of Manning.

In addition to being a US citizen, Manning is now known to be a UK citizen by descent from his Welsh mother. Under the British Nationality Act of 1981, anyone born outside the UK after 1 January 1983 who has a mother who is a UK citizen by birth is British by descent. Bradley Manning was born in Oklahoma in 1987 to Brian Manning - a US citizen - and Susan Manning who, according to a report in the Guardian today, was born Susan Fox in Haverfordwest in 1953.

Bradley Manning was arrested in Iraq last May and was subsequently charged in connection with the leaking of classified US documents to Wikileaks. In late July he was transferred to U.S. Marine Corps Base Quantico in Quantico, Virginia. He has been held in solitary confinement since then. He is kept in his cell for at least 23 hours per day, has no social interaction with other inmate and is not allowed out of his cell without restraints.

In December a number of intellectuals, human rights activists, lawyers and former prisoners signed a statement (www.stopisolation.org) saying that the suffering caused to prisoners held in long-term isolation is "torturous, cruel and inhuman" and that:

"enforced long-term isolation in all circumstances breaches Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states 'no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment' and Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which states that 'no one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.' "

Supporters of the statement include US academic Noam Chomsky, US author and poet Alice Walker, former Guantánamo prisoner Moazzam Begg, former prisoners Paddy Hill and Gerry Conlon (wrongly convicted over IRA bombings in England), former Beirut hostage Terry Waite, lawyer Clive Stafford Smith, barrister Michael Mansfield QC, Emeritus Professor David Brown (University of New South Wales, Australia), Death Row prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal, former UN Special Rapporteur against Torture Theo van Boven, and Secretary General of the European Association of Lawyers for Democracy and World Human Rights Thomas Schmidt.

In view of Manning's British citizenship, the UK Government is under a clear obligation to do all it can to end his inhuman and illegal treatment.

Richard Haley, chair of SACC, says:

"If the allegations against Bradley Manning are true he is a hero, not a criminal. Hero or not, he is entitled, like everyone else in the world, to protection from torture and inhuman treatment. The US is one of the few countries in the world to believe that long-term prisoner isolation is permissible. It is not. Bradley Manning is being held under conditions calculated to drive him mad. The British Government must make it clear to the US that this is not acceptable."

ENDS

What You can do

Please contact your MP (you can use www.writetothem.com) and ask them to urge the Government to demand that the US ceases its torture of Bradley Manning.

The US army apparently believes that confinement in a cell for 23 or more hours a day, with no opportunity to meet with other prisoners, doesn't count as solitary confinement. It does. It also counts as torture.

Bradley Manning must be given meaningful opportunities for social interaction with other prisoners and for exercise, recreation and education. People visiting him must not be obstructed or harrassed. Bradley Manning's isolation must end.

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