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More than 50 members of the European parliament are worried that Bradley Manning is being tortured in a U.S. prison, they say in a letter to President Obama and other top officials.
The leaders question why Manning has been in prison for 17 months "without yet having had his day in court," according to a copy of the letter obtained by The Guardian. Manning, who is gay, was arrested in 2010 and blamed for leaking thousands of government cables to WikiLeaks while on the job as an Army intelligence analyst. His first hearing comes next month, and Politicoreports that his lawyer will argue that the government's own review of the leaks showed them to be of little impact.
But while Manning waits for a court martial trial, the MEPs say they're "troubled" by reports of prolonged solitary confinement and "other abusive treatment tantamount to torture."
They want Obama to allow a United Nations special reporter on torture to meet privately with Manning as part of an investigation into his treatment.
"PFC Manning has a right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment," they wrote. "People accused of crimes must not be subjected to any form of punishment before being brought to trial."
Obama has disavowed torture, including water boarding for terrorists, and the president has said after previous criticism that procedures used to detain Manning are "appropriate and are meeting our basic standards," like any other prisoner.