By RAPHAEL G. SATTER, Associated Press Feb 1, 2011
LONDON – Amnesty International called on British authorities to intervene
Tuesday in the case of the Army private accused of leaking material to the
secret-spilling website WikiLeaks amid claims that he is an
American-British dual national.
Pfc. Bradley Manning has been held at the Marine Corps brig in Quantico,
Virginia since last summer under conditions which his supporters describe
as punitive. Manning's case has attracted sustained attention in Britain
in part because his mother is Welsh, but some supporters now claim that
the 23-year-old holds British citizenship.
In a statement e-mailed to The Associated Press, Amnesty International's
U.K. Director Kate Allen said Manning's background meant that British
officials "should be demanding that the conditions of his detention are in
line with international standards."
Amnesty spokesman Neil Durkin cautioned that that did not mean the rights
group necessarily accepted that Manning was a U.K. citizen — merely that
it believed the U.K. government had a duty to get involved "should it be
established that he is British."
Manning was born in Oklahoma but he moved to Wales when his parents
His mother was born in the Welsh town of Haverfordwest in 1953, according
to government records cited by the Guardian newspaper Tuesday. The paper
quoted Alison Harvey, the head of the Immigration Law Practitioners'
Association in London, as saying that "that makes Bradley Manning
Britain's Foreign Office declined comment, saying it couldn't release
information on an individual's nationality without their consent. An
e-mail and a phone call seeking comment from Manning's lawyer David E.
Coombs were not immediately returned.
On his website, Coombs says Manning is being kept in solitary confinement
23 hours a day, barred from having sheets or using a pillow, prohibited
from keeping personal items in his cell, and forced to respond to a
guard's queries every five minutes. Manning cannot exercise while in his
cell, and he must strip down to his underwear before going to bed. If
guards can't see him clearly when he's sleeping, he is woken.
Manning's case — and the restrictive conditions under which he is being
kept — have become the focus of international attention following
WikiLeaks' controversial publication of hundreds of thousands of secret
U.S. intelligence and diplomatic documents. Manning is suspected of being
the source of the leaked documents, although the charges against him are
Brig officials claim Manning hasn't been treated differently from any
other inmate. But Coombs disputes that, noting that, unlike other
prisoners, Manning is being held as a maximum security prisoner and
subjected to "prevention of injury watch" against the advice of