UN official says US is torturing Chelsea Manning with detention

UN official says US is torturing Chelsea Manning with detention
© Greg Nash

A United Nations official says the U.S. is torturing Chelsea ManningChelsea Elizabeth ManningOvernight Defense: National Guard activated to fight coronavirus | Pentagon 'fairly certain' North Korea has cases | General says Iran threat remains 'very high' after US strikes The Hill's Morning Report — Coronavirus tests a partisan Washington Judge orders Chelsea Manning's release from jail MORE with detention, in a letter to the U.S. government released Tuesday.

Nils Melzer, the U.N. special rapporteur on torture, accused the U.S. of torture by holding Manning in “civil contempt” of court for refusing to testify in front of a grand jury, in a letter sent in November.

Melzer says in the letter that the former Army intelligence analyst is being subjected to “an open-ended, progressively severe measure of coercion fulfilling all the constitutive elements of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

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The U.N. official said he is concerned about the alleged “coercive measures” used against Manning because of her “previous conviction and ill-treatment in detention.” He warned that Manning’s detention could cause post-traumatic symptoms and other severe mental and physical consequences. 

Melzer requested the government provide factual and legal grounds for detaining Manning, explain how the alleged coercive measures align with international human rights laws and clarify the efforts to ensure Manning’s physical and mental wellbeing. He said if his assessment is correct, Manning should be released immediately, and her fines should be canceled or reimbursed.

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The former analyst was sent to prison for seven years until President Obama commuted her sentence. She was detained again in May of this year after refusing to testify in a potential case against WikiLeaks founder Julian AssangeJulian Paul AssangeJudge orders Chelsea Manning's release from jail Lawyers: Chelsea Manning recovering after suicide attempt Hillicon Valley: Twitter falling short on pledge to verify primary candidates | Barr vows to make surveillance reforms after watchdog report | DHS cyber chief focused on 2020 MORE, until she either complies or the grand jury term expires in November 2020.

Manning is being fined $500 per day for the first 30 days of detainment and $1,000 per day after that.

Assange is charged of conspiring with Manning to help her release U.S. state secrets to WikiLeaks in 2010.