The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Juan Mendez, says that the United States seriously violated international law by unjustly putting American Pfc. Bradley Manning in solitary confinement at the beginning of his detention.
“My mandate is exclusively about his conditions of detention and not about whether [you know] he was properly prosecuted or not. I have no opinion on that and of course I have no opinion on his guilty plea. But obviously if in any given situation someone is forced to plead guilty, that would be tantamount to a confession and that of course is prohibited by international law,” Mendez told Press TV’s U.S. Desk in a phone interview on Tuesday.
He continued, “In this circumstance, I am persuaded that he was unjustly put in solitary confinement for eight months at the beginning of his detention, and that constitutes serious violations by the United States of its obligations under international law, including the convention against torture.”
Pfc. Bradley Manning was to be held for trial on charges that would include violating the Espionage Act and aiding the enemy. He is accused of sending hundreds of thousands of classified documents to the secret-sharing website WikiLeaks.
At Quantico, where Manning was held from July 2010 until April 2011, he was singled out for punishment before his case had been heard, his lawyers say.
During his first five months at Quantico, the lawyers say, he was held in “the functional equivalent of solitary confinement” : Confined to a six-by-eight-foot cell, with no window or natural light, for more than 23 and a half hours each day.
Manning’s detention drew concern from groups including Amnesty International, the British government and the U.N. special rapporteur on torture.