Manning suicide status questioned

Dec. 6, 2012 at 5:12 PM
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FORT MEADE, Md., Dec. 6 (UPI) -- A military doctor said WikiLeaks suspect Pfc. Bradley Manning should not have been held on suicide watch while being held at a Marine Corps brig in Virginia.

Manning, who is suspected of turning over tens of thousands of low level classified documents to the Internet group, was held for two years in the brig at Quantico, Va. His lawyer called the suicide watch, which included 23 hours of solitary confinement and the requirement to strip naked and don a special garment to sleep in, "unlawful pretrial punishment." If a military judge agrees, it could lead to charges being dismissed or a sentence lowered if Manning is eventually found guilty, Courthouse News Service said Thursday.

Capt. William Hocter, the Quantico brig psychologist, ordered Manning to be held on suicide watch once for two days at the start of his two-year stay at Quantico. After that, Hocter said he never found Manning to be a suicide risk.

Navy rules state once an inmate is deemed no longer a suicide risk he should be returned to general population status, though Manning was held in the suicide risk solitary confinement for nearly his entire time at Quantico.

On an intake form Manning was asked to fill out upon arriving at Quantico that asks about suicide, Manning wrote, "Always planning, never acting."

Guards tasked with overseeing him on a day-to-day basis told the court they considered him a serious risk based on that statement.

"For someone to say something like that, to me, I can't just brush that off," Master Sgt. Brian Papakie testified Wednesday. Papakie was the brig supervisor, to whom Manning complained about his confinement status.

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