An Army private suspected of sending reams of classified documents to the secret-sharing WikiLeaks website was illegally punished at a Marine Corps brig and should get 112 days cut from any prison sentence he receives if convicted, a military judge ruled Tuesday.
Army Col. Denise Lind ruled during a pretrial hearing that authorities went too far in their strict confinement of Pfc. Bradley Manning for nine months in a Marine Corps brig in Quantico, Va., in 2010 and 2011. Manning was confined to a windowless cell 23 hours a day, sometimes with no clothing. Brig officials said it was to keep him from hurting himself or others.
Lind said Manning’s confinement was “more rigorous than necessary.” She added that the conditions “became excessive in relation to legitimate government interests.”
Jeff Paterson of the Bradley Manning Support Network, which is funding Manning’s defense, said the sentencing credit “doesn’t come close to compensating Bradley” for his harsh treatment.
“The ruling is not strong enough to give the military pause before mistreating the next American soldier awaiting trial,” Paterson wrote in an email.