Manning Forced to Strip in Jail: Lawyer

He alleges prison mistreatment, calls it purely 'punitive'
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 21, 2011 1:10 PM CST
Manning Forced to Strip in Jail: Lawyer
Rachel Winch, 26, of Washington, holds a sign during a demonstration outside FBI headquarters in support of Bradley Manning, Jan. 17, 2011.   (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

(Newser) – Bradley Manning’s lawyer is accusing the military of mistreating his client, saying that he was forced to spend two days virtually naked in his cell after the Army placed him on suicide watch against the recommendation of the jail’s forensic psychiatrist. Manning was confined to his cell around the clock and forced to strip to his underwear, David Coombs tells the Washington Post. His eyeglasses were also taken away, except during the hour each day he was allowed to watch television, or while reading.

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Coombs filed a complaint against the brig commander on Wednesday. The Army Staff Judge Advocate’s office intervened, and a day later Manning was downgraded to “prevention of injury” watch, which deprives him of sheets, pillows, and personal items. “The fact that they won’t articulate any basis for it leaves you with no other conclusion than it must be punitive,” Coombs argues. Even without the watches, Manning is a maximum-custody detainee, allowed only one hour of “recreation” a day—during which he’s allowed to walk around an empty room. (Read more Bradley Manning stories.)

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