The U.N.'s senior representative on torture investigating the Bradley Manning case, Juan Mendez, reprimanded the U.S. government today for its refusal to allow an official meeting with Manning. Reprimands are generally given to small dictatorial regimes that abuse human rights, not developed nations. Moreover, Mr Mendez politely accused the U.S. military and diplomatic officials of lying to him. Mr Mendez has been trying to arrange an official visit with Manning, the alleged source of the U.S. diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks, since Christmas. Mr. Mendez has been stonewalled every step of the way. The U.S. refuses to allow Manning to meet in private. The U.N. is mandated to conduct confidential visits to protect political prisoners from abuse. Mr. Mendez has conducted 18 private visits in 6 years, but the U.S. acts as if it is above international law.
Mendez, the UN special rapporteur on torture, said: "I am deeply disappointed and frustrated by the prevarication of the US government with regard to my attempts to visit Mr Manning." .....
Mendez, who has been investigating complaints about his treatment since before Christmas, said the US department of defence would not allow him to make an "official" visit, only a "private" one. An "official" visit would mean he meets Manning without a guard present. A "private" visit means with a guard and anything the prisoner says could be used in the planned court-martial.
"Since December 2010, I have been engaging the US government on visiting Mr Manning, at the invitation of his counsel, to determine his condition," Mendez said. "Unfortunately, the US government has not been receptive to a confidential meeting with Mr Manning."
He added: "I have since last year on several occasions raised serious concern about the conditions of detention of Mr Manning, who since his arrest in May 2010, has been confined to his cell for 23 hours a day at the Marine Corps Brig, Quantico, Virginia. I have also urged the authorities to ensure his physical and mental integrity."
I never expected President Obama to be progressive, but I did expect him to uphold the rule of law. I expected him to end torture and abuse. I am shocked that he allows an American to be held naked in solitary confinement. I am ashamed that the U.S. has been censured by the U.N. like a banana republic.
Update from the comments
Since the US is a signatory
To the Convention Against Torture and Mr. Mendez works for the UN Committee Against Torture (CAT), there is a constitutional obligation (Article 6) to allow him to investigate.
The Committee Against Torture (CAT) is the body of 10 independent experts that monitors implementation of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment by its State parties.
All States parties are obliged to submit regular reports to the Committee on how the rights are being implemented. States must report initially one year after acceding to the Convention and then every four years. The Committee examines each report and addresses its concerns and recommendations to the State party in the form of "concluding observations".
In addition to the reporting procedure, the Convention establishes three other mechanisms through which the Committee performs its monitoring functions: the Committee may also, under certain circumstances, consider individual complaints or communications from individuals claiming that their rights under the Convention have been violated, undertake inquiries, and consider inter-state complaints.
The Optional Protocol to the Convention, which entered into force in June 2006, creates the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT). The SPT has a mandate to visit places where persons are deprived of their liberty in the States parties. Under the Optional Protocol, States parties shall establish a independent national preventive mechanisms for the prevention of torture at the domestic level which has also a mandate to inspect places of detention.
by BOHICA on Mon Apr 11, 2011 at 08:26:08 PM EDT
AVAAZ petition "Stop Wikileaks Torture" secure link Nearly 450,000 signatures have been collected worldwide.