Incarceration Nation

Hearing that Detailed Bradley Manning’s Torture Closes

By the Bradley Manning Support Network

The defense and prosecution made closing arguments yesterday (December 11, 2012) in the motion hearing addressing the unlawful pretrial punishment of Bradley Manning. The defense contended that the influence of a three-star general broke down the chain of command, allowing those responsible for Bradley Manning to treat him “like a zoo animal” while the prosecution argued that while Bradley was not treated normally, the actions of Quantico officers were simply “cautious.”

Defense attorney David Coombs made his closing arguments yesterday (December 11, 2012) in the motion hearing addressing the unlawful pretrial punishment of Bradley Manning at the Quantico Marine brig. The defense’s motion, which was published last July on Coombs’s blog, seeks to dismiss all the charges against Bradley, or alternatively, to give a 10-1 sentencing credit. Bradley Manning was held in POI (Prevention of Injury) maximum custody for nine months, which was effectively solitary confinement. Mental health professionals working with Bradley testified that his treatment was akin to that used by interrogators and worse than that given to prisoners on death row. They also testified that they frequently recommended the restrictive status be removed and that he be allowed to socialize with other inmates, else his condition could worsen. The recommendations of mental health professionals were ignored—and the testimony revealed that this was due to command influence from above. As both mental health provider Cpt. Hocter and attorney David Coombs pointed out, it was a testament to Bradley Manning’s strong character that he did not break down completely during his nine-month incarceration at Quantico.

At the start of the defense’s closing arguments, Judge Lind asked Coombs to detail how Bradley Manning’s treatment amounted to unlawful pretrial punishment. Coombs carefully laid out evidence that had emerged in nearly two weeks of testimony. First, nine months in POI status, he said, was unheard of. Testimony revealed that at any other facility, detainees would not be held in such a status for more than four days, after which if there was still a concern that they might harm themselves, they would be transferred to a mental health facility where appropriate treatment would be administered. Second, three mental health professionals testified that nine months in solitary confinement could be severely harmful to Bradley Manning. During his detention these experts frequently advised the brig to remove Bradley Manning from POI status, and these recommendations were intentionally ignored. That brig officers ignored their own mental health experts also ran contrary to the Head of Marine Corrections’ testimony on correct brig protocol. As Coombs argued, “logic somehow did not ever get into the world of Quantico when it came to the case of PFC Manning.”

Bradley Manning Support Network, December 12, 2012

Read complete notes from the closing arguments: