November 23, 2012 | by Steve Charing
Bradley Manning protest scheduled
Bradley Manning, wikileaks, gay news, Washington Blade

Pfc. Bradley Manning, who’s gay, faces charges that he leaked classified documents to WikiLeaks. (Public domain photo)

Pfc. Bradley Manning’s defense will face military prosecutors in Ft. George G. Meade in Odenton, Md. from Nov. 27-Dec. 2 to argue that all charges should be dismissed because of “unlawful pretrial punishment.” A protest rally is scheduled for Nov. 27.

Manning is a gay United States Army soldier who was arrested in May 2010 in Iraq on suspicion of having passed classified material to the whistleblower website WikiLeaks. He was charged with a number of offenses, including communicating national defense information to an unauthorized source and aiding the enemy, a capital offense, though prosecutors said they would not seek the death penalty.

Protest organizers say this is one of the defense’s final chances to reduce possible sentencing, second in importance only to the court martial, which begins next Feb. 4.  It’s an opportunity for the public to show the military and the media that they still support Manning by coming out to Fort Meade on Nov. 27 to protest what organizers believe constitutes an injustice in the military court.

The rally takes place outside the main gate of Fort Meade at 10 a.m. to demand that Manning’s mistreatment be accounted for. Speakers will include leading members of the Bradley Manning Support Network and partner organizations.

At the hearing, Bradley’s lawyer David Coombs will focus on the abuse Bradley allegedly endured in Quantico, Va. Manning was held for nine months in solitary confinement, in conditions that were declared by U.N. Chief Rapporteur on Torture Juan Mendez to be “cruel, inhuman and degrading.” David Coombs will present evidence that brig psychiatrists opposed the decision to hold Bradley in solitary and that brig commanders misled the public when they said that Bradley’s treatment was for “Prevention of Injury.” Following the protest, people are encouraged to stay for some or all of the hearing.

For directions to Fort Meade’s main gate, visit bradleymanning.org/news/attending-bradleys-hearings. You may contact emma@bradleymanning.org for information about carpooling or offering rides.

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