Bradley Manning’s Pre-Trial Punishments May Save Him From Worse

ManningThe miseries suffered by Bradley Manning, the gay Army private and Wikileaker, are well documented. After his imprisonment at Quantico, he was kept in soul-killing isolation, restricted to a 6×8 cell for 23 or 24 hours per day, barred from laying on his rack or leaning against walls during his waking hours, denied toilet paper, and forced to strip naked during cell inspections. Juan Mendez, the United Nation's "special rapporteur" on torture, decreed Manning's treatment "cruel and inhuman."

Manning may yet benefit from his difficulties in the brig. The Guardian reports that Manning's civilian lawyer, David Coombs, has filed an Article 13 motion claiming Manning was cruelly, inhumanely, and illegally punished before he'd been convicted of anything. (Manning still hasn't been convicted of anything.) From Coombs's website:

The Defense is requesting the Court to dismiss all charges with prejudice owing to the illegal pretrial punishment PFC Manning was subjected to in violation of Article 13, UCMJ and the Fifth and Eighth Amendments to the United States Constitution. 

The Guardian explains Article 13 like so:

The defence motion is brought under Article 13 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. It states that "no person, while being held for trial, may be subjected to punishment or penalty other than arrest or confinement upon the charges pending against him, nor shall the arrest or confinement imposed upon him be any more rigorous than the circumstances required to insure his presence."

Under Article 13, if a judge decides that a member of the armed forces has been illegally punished before trial, he can grant the prisoner credit on the amount of time they have already served in custody, or can even dismiss all charges outright.