US private Bradley Manning has been in a maximum-security prison in Virginia, USA, since May 2010 after being accused of leaking classified information to the whistleblower site WikiLeaks. Manning faces up to 52 years in prison if convicted of leaking the classified information. His trial date had not been set at the time of going to press.
Manning spends every day in a 12’ x 6’ cell and he is only allowed out for one hour a day, which he spends exercising by walking around another room. He has no sheets, no pillows, and no personal items in his cell, and very little contact with the outside world.
These conditions have contributed to a decline in Manning’s physical and mental health. Manning’s lawyer, David Coombs, has said that Manning’s living conditions are abusive, and the UN has begun investigating Manning’s treatment on the grounds that it may amount to torture. The UK Friends of Bradley Manning is one of many groups seeking to call attention to Manning’s unjust treatment. The group plans to campaign in Ireland to call for Manning to be given Irish citizenship and sanctuary.
In September 2010, Manning supporters worldwide participated in four days of action in solidarity with Manning. They called on the US government to drop the charges against Manning. On 4 February, a group of activists protested at the Australian embassy in London to advocate for the civil rights of Manning, Julian Assange, and others involved in WikiLeaks.