US to move WikiLeaks' suspect to new prison
Washington: Bradley Manning, a US
serviceman behind held for allegedly passing classified
documents to WikiLeaks, will be transferred to a military
facility in Kansas, the Pentagon announced on Wednesday.
The move comes after intense criticism of Manning's
detention conditions in Quantico, Virginia.
"At this juncture of the case we have decided that the
new joint correctional facility at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas,
is the most appropriate facility for Private Manning for
continued pretrial detention," Jeh Johnson, the general
counsel of the Department of Defence, said at a news
conference. He said Manning's transfer was imminent.
The 23-year-old Welsh-born US army intelligence
officer, who allegedly provided the whistleblowing website
WikiLeaks with a trove of secret documents, has been
imprisoned at Quantico since July 2010.
Manning's detention conditions, which have included
solitary confinement and being forced to sleep naked, have
drawn the attention of Amnesty International, the American
Civil Liberties Union and Britain. Amnesty International in
February called Manning's detention "harsh and punitive" and
urged Britain to intervene on his behalf.
Johnson said the move to Leavenworth had nothing to do
with those complaints. "Many will be tempted to interpret
today's action as a criticism of the pretrial facility at
Quantico," he said.
"That is not the case. We remain satisfied that
Private Manning's pretrial confinement at Quantico was in
compliance with legal and regulatory standards in all
respects," Johnson said.
Lieutenant Colonel Dawn Hilton, the commander of the
Kansas prison, said Quantico was not intended for long-term
incarceration, while Leavenworth Prison was designed for
"I have the capacity to hold not only the pretrial
prisoners, but post-trial prisoners sentenced up to five
years," Hilton said.
"And with that comes all the support staff that
Private First Class Manning may need. I have a state of the
art facility and I have the experienced staff. It's more than
just the facility, it's the staff," she said.