FORT MEADE, Md., Nov. 26 (UPI) -- Lawyers for the U.S. Army private accused of passing classified data to the whistle-blower website WikiLeaks say he was punished while awaiting court-martial.
Army Pfc. Bradley Manning was due back at Fort Meade, Md., this week, where his lawyers say they will argue he was punished at a military brig before his case had been heard, which is sufficient grounds to dismiss all charges against him, The Baltimore Sun reported Sunday.
Manning faces a court-martial in January. Coombs lists him as a witness in the pretrial hearing scheduled for Tuesday at Fort Meade, when he may testify about his confinement at the Marine Corps brig in Quantico, Va., where Manning was held from July 2010 until April 2011.
During Manning's first five months, he was held in "the functional equivalent of solitary confinement," restricted to a 6-by-8-foot, windowless cell for more than 23 1/2 hours each day, his defense team said.
Among other things his lawyers say, Manning was awakened at 5 a.m. every morning and was required to remain awake until 10 p.m., his lawyers say. He couldn't lie on his bed or exercise in his cell. Guards were required to perform well-being checks in five-minute intervals. If they could not see him because he was sleeping under his blanket or turned to the wall, they would wake him.
The actions amounted to illegal pretrial punishment and violate the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the U.S. Constitution, the attorneys said.
In court papers, lawyer David Coombs said the conditions were in "flagrant violation of Pfc. Manning's constitutional right to not be punished prior to trial."
Manning now is incarcerated at the Fort Leavenworth, Kan., Joint Regional Correctional Facility, where he has been been classified as a medium-custody detainee, is allowed to eat and socialize with other detainees, walk around without shackles and keep personal hygiene items in his cell, Coombs said.
If the military court denies Coombs' motion, he is seeking a credit of 10 days served for every day he has spent in pretrial confinement, the Sun said.
The Marine Corps and the Pentagon have said Manning was not mistreated.