Manning removed from two-day suicide watch; attorney files complaint, calls action punitive
Bradley Manning’s attorney, David Coombs, posted on his blog today that he has filed an Article 138 complaint with the Quantico Marine Corps base command alleging that the commanding officer of the brig where Manning is being held abused his discretion in placing Manning on suicide watch for two days this week.
The suicide risk assignment meant that PFC Manning was required to remain in his cell for 24 hours a day. He was stripped of all clothing with the exception of his underwear. His prescription eyeglasses were taken away from him. He was forced to sit in essential blindness with the exception of the times that he was reading or given limited television privileges. During those times, his glasses were returned to him. Additionally, there was always a guard sitting outside of his cell watching him.
The move to put Manning on suicide watch status came the day after some 150 people protested outside the gates of the Quantico base demanding Bradley’s freedom. Mr. Coombs was quoted in the Washington Post as saying, “The fact that they won’t articulate any basis for it leaves you with no other conclusion than it must be punitive.”
Coombs’ complaint seeks to have Bradley Manning’s confinement regime reduced from maximum to medium custody, and for the prevention of injury (POI) order on him to be rescinded. The POI order is responsible for the most onerous aspects of Bradley’s confinement and includes bedding described as a cross between a lead apron and rough carpet as well as interruptions of his sleep any time the guards can’t see his face during well-being checks conducted every five minutes.
Coombs told the Associated Press that he will take the Marine Corps to court if this complaint is not successful.
Photo: Bill Perry