An army intelligence analyst jailed on charges of leaking United States government data to Wikileaks has been found competent to stand trial despite earlier being categorised as a suicide risk, according to official sources. Bradley Manning, who was held in solitary confinement for 11 months following allegations that he gave the online whistleblower website sensitive information on U.S. military and diplomatic engagements, was cleared to stand trial by a “panel of experts.”
Despite protests from his legal team, the Pentagon earlier ruled that Mr. Manning was in danger of harming himself and consequently stripped him down to a smock every night and held him in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day. However last week Mr. Manning was transferred from the military facility in Quantico, Virginia, where he was being held under these restrictive conditions, to a prison in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where he was said to be considered “medium-security” detenu. In Fort Leavenworth, authorities said he would be permitted to interact with other inmates.
While the treatment meted out to Mr. Manning in Quantico was described as “degrading and inhumane” by a group of 250 legal experts, including a former professor of President Barack Obama, Pentagon officials said there was a lot of “misinformation” about Mr. Manning and insisted he was neither in solitary confinement nor stripped naked every night.
With Mr. Manning being suddenly moved to Fort Leavenwoth the focus of his case is likely to shift to military court martial proceedings, the date for which has not yet been set.
In a concurrent development, Mr. Obama was recently caught on camera saying to an attendee at a fundraising event in San Francisco last week that Mr. Manning “broke the law,” prompting some legal experts to argue that in saying so Mr. Obama has “destroyed the chance of a fair trial” for Mr. Manning.
The White House subsequently withdrew the privileges of the journalist, Carla Marinucci, who posted online the video of Mr. Obama commenting on Mr. Manning's guilt.