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Apr 13

U.N. torture investigator slams U.S. for denying him access to Bradley Manning

By Stephen C. Webster

A United Nations special rapporteur on torture claims U.S. authorities refused to give him access to Army Private Bradley Manning, 23, the lone soldier accused of leaking secret files to WikiLeaks.

Juan Mendez, the U.N. representative on torture, said he had visited numerous other nations where he’d been allowed unmonitored communications with prisoners. The U.S. Department of Defense on Friday, however, denied his request to visit with Manning, saying he may not speak with the soldier unless a government monitor is present.

The difference between those two is that “official” visits by a U.N. special rapporteur on torture must be unmonitored. In a monitored conversation, anything Manning says could be used against him before a military court.

“[For] my part, a monitored conversation would not comply with the practices that my mandate applies in every country and detention center visited,” Mendez said.

“I am insisting the US government lets me see him without witnesses,” he told The Guardian. “I am asking [the U.S. government] to reconsider.”

The paper noted that the reprimand of U.S. authorities was something usually reserved for dictatorial regimes.

Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) had a similar experience when he requested a meeting with Manning.

[more…]

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