The Defense Department has said Manning’s treatment properly conformed to his classification as a maximum-custody detainee who posed a risk of injury to himself or others. He was moved in April 2011 to Fort Leavenworth, Kan., where he has a medium-security classification.
Publicity about Manning’s treatment helped bring worldwide attention to his case. In March, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Mendez presented a report to the UN’s Human Rights Council in which he criticized the U.S. government for refusing his repeated requests for a private visit with Manning.
Although they never spoke, “I am persuaded that Pfc. Manning was subjected to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment” in violation of the UN Convention Against Torture, Mendez wrote in a Nov. 15 email to The Associated Press.
Mendez said he doesn’t know if Manning’s treatment amounted to torture, as Manning supporters claim.
If Manning gets a life sentence, such a sentence decrease — which could be as much as seven years — would be useless, according to Jeff Paterson of the Bradley Manning Support Network, who adds, “If that credit is meaningless, then that signals that you can actually torture any personnel or detainee without any actual consequences.”