WASHINGTON – Pfc. Bradley Manning could testify for the first time Thursday at pretrial proceedings in the case in which he’s accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of secret U.S. government documents to the website WikiLeaks.
Manning is charged with providing the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks with reams of sensitive diplomatic cables and classified war logs from Afghanistan and Iraq while he was based in Baghdad as an intelligence analyst in 2009 and 2010.
The hearings this week at Ft. Meade, outside Washington, have centered on whether Manning was treated lawfully while in pretrial confinement for nine months beginning in July 2010 at the Marine Corps base in Quantico, Va.
Lawyers for Manning -- who could face life in prison if convicted of the most serious of 22 counts against him -- have argued that all of the charges should be dismissed because the conditions in which he was held constituted illegal punishment.
While in solitary confinement in the brig at Quantico, Manning was stripped of his clothing, forced to sleep naked for several nights and required to stand naked at attention one morning. Military officers have testified that Manning was considered at risk of harming himself or others, warranting the “maximum custody” designation.
In April 2011, Manning was moved to Ft. Leavenworth, Kan., where he was reevaluated and designated a medium-security detainee.
The soft-spoken, bespectacled Manning has yet to take the witness stand during multiple rounds of pretrial hearings.