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 ManningHistory is on Edward Snowden's side: Now it's time to give him a full pardon Hillicon Valley: Justice Department announces superseding indictment against WikiLeaks' Assange | Facebook ad boycott gains momentum | FBI sees spike in coronavirus-related cyber threats | Boston city government bans facial recognition technology Justice Department announces superseding indictment against Wikileaks' Assange 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 AssangeAi Weiwei stages silent protest against Assange extradition Psychiatrist says Assange told him he was hearing imaginary voices, music Assange extradition hearing delayed over coronavirus concerns 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.