Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The UN Special Rapporteur and Pfc. Manning

Juan Mendez, the UN special rapporteur for torture, has concluded that the United States subjected Pfc. Bradley Manning to cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment or punishment.  Manning is the soldier who was arrested on May 29, 2010, in Iraq and accused of leaking classified documents to Wikileaks.  According to Mendez, Manning's solitary confinement for 23 hours a day over the course of  the11 months after his arrest constituted a violation of Article 16 of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.  The article states:
1. Each State Party shall undertake to prevent in any territory under its jurisdiction other acts of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment which do not amount to torture as defined in article I, when such acts are committed by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. In particular, the obligations contained in articles 10, 11, 12 and 13 shall apply with the substitution for references to torture of references to other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

2. The provisions of this Convention are without prejudice to the provisions of any other international instrument or national law which prohibits cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment or which relates to extradition or expulsion.
Mendez indicated that Manning's treatment might have constituted torture, but this could not be determined with certainty without an interview with Manning in private, something the U.S. government refused to permit.