Pfc. Bradley Manning, the soldier accused of releasing classified information to WikiLeaks, will be in court today at Fort Meade in Maryland for the first day of a hearing on a defense motion that alleges “unlawful pretrial punishment” while imprisoned at the Quantico Marine Brig in Virginia. The motion calls for all charges with prejudice to be dismissed or “10-for-1 sentencing credit” for the 258 days Manning served in conditions “equivalent to solitary confinement.”
The hearing is scheduled to take place from November 27 to December 2. Defense witnesses will take the stand. These are to include Quantico commanders, Quantico mental health professionals and—as widely reported in the past day (but known since July)—Manning.
Following the defense witnesses, the prosecution will have its witnesses take the stand. Also, at some point during the defense’s argument, the suicide smock, blanket and twin mattress he used will be brought into the courtroom for the judge to personally see, touch and defense attorney David Coombs will describe the role they played in Manning’s “unlawful pretrial punishment.”
The defense’s motion, which is 110 pages, was posted to the defense’s website in August. I published a full report on the motion that highlighted key aspects: a three-star general told Brig psychiatrists officers would whatever they wanted to do with Manning, regardless of recommendations; Brig psychiatrists issued recommendations that Manning be downgraded from Prevention of Injury (POI) for eight months; Manning was constantly monitored and subjected to cruel confinement conditions that even high-ranking officials like former State Department spokesperson PJ Crowley recognized and the officers, in some instances, outright agitated him then used his reaction to justify keeping him in conditions that amounted to solitary confinement.