Marine brig officials grilled about GIs jailing
FORT MEADE, Md. (AP) — A former Marine Corps. brig commander testified Thursday that a vague rule meant he could keep Pfc. Bradley Manning on suicide watch even after a psychiatrist determined that wasn’t necessary, as lawyers for the soldier at the center of the WikiLeaks case chipped away at inconsistencies in the military’s rationale for how it jailed Manning.
Manning has argued in the pretrial hearing that the conditions of his confinement at the Marine base at Quantico, Va., were so harsh that the charges against the Army private – including aiding the enemy by giving classified information to WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy website – should be dropped.
The Marine Corps’ chief of corrections testified Wednesday that Averhart wrongly kept Manning on suicide watch for at least seven days of his nine months’ confinement. A former brig supervisor denied making light of Manning’s homosexuality when he referred to the soldier’s underwear as “panties” in a staff memo sparked by Manning standing naked at attention one morning. Manning claims he was ordered to do so.
The defense claims his confinement amounted to illegal pretrial punishment, and that all charges against Manning should be dropped or he should at least get extra credit at sentencing.