Kucinich: Suspected WikiLeaks leaker could be facing 'cruel and unusual' treatment

The Army private accused of leaking classified U.S. documents to WikiLeaks has suffered "cruel and unusual" treatment while detained by the government, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) said.

Kucinich wrote Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Wednesday to ask that Army Pfc. Bradley Manning be allowed access to a mental health specialist while in detention by the military.

"Since his arrest in May, Manning has been a model detainee, without any episodes of violence or disciplinary problems," Kucinich wrote, quoting liberal blogger Glenn Greenwald. "He nonetheless was declared from the start to be a 'Maximum Custody Detainee,' the highest and most repressive level of military detention, which then became the basis for the series of inhumane measures imposed on him."

Liberal activists have requested access to Manning in order to inquire as to his mental and physical health since having been arrested by the government on suspicion of leaking documents to WikiLeaks. Those documents, which included classified and sensitive government communiqués, spurred a series of recriminations by the Obama administration and members of Congress against Manning, WikiLeaks, and WikiLeaks's founder, Julian Assange.

Jane Hamsher, the editor of the liberal blog FireDogLake, and David House attempted to visit Manning at Quantico, Va., in late January, but were denied access. They detailed their attempt on Hamsher's blog.

Manning is said to have a history of suffering from mental health issues, and Kucinich charged the Army with having violated the suspect's constitutional rights if they're holding him in solitary confinement without access to mental health professionals.

"Now, reports indicate that the Army has taken Pfc. Manning, a soldier with documented mental health problems, and confined him under conditions that are almost guaranteed to exacerbate his mental health problems," Kucinich wrote. "If true, the Army’s treatment would obviously constitute 'cruel and unusual punishment' in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution."

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