Human Rights

UN official says US is torturing Chelsea Manning with detention

Greg Nash

A United Nations official says the U.S. is torturing Chelsea Manning 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.”

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.

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 Assange, 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.

Tags Chelsea Manning Julian Assange Torture United Nations WikiLeaks

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