US refuses unmonitored meet with leaks suspect: UN expert
The UN's torture investigator said Monday that Washington had rejected repeated requests for him to have an unmonitored meeting with the man alleged to have leaked secret cables to WikiLeaks.
Bradley Manning, 23, a US army intelligence analyst, was arrested last year while deployed in Iraq amid suspicions he had passed a trove of secret US government documents to whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks that were then published in newspapers around the world.
"Since December 2010, I have been engaging the US government on visiting Mr. Manning, at the invitation of his counsel, to determine his current condition," Juan Mendez, the United Nations special rapporteur on torture, said in a statement.
"Unfortunately, the US government has not been receptive to a confidential meeting with Mr. Manning," he added in a statement.
Mendez said officials from the US State and Defence Departments told him on April 8 that he could meet Manning, but only in a "private visit" -- which he said suggests a meeting that is monitored by prison officials.
"I am deeply disappointed and frustrated by the prevarication of the US government with regard to my attempts to visit Mr. Manning," he said, pointing out that a monitored conversation would not allow him to verify credibly if the detainee has been ill-treated or tortured.
Mendez also reiterated concern over detention conditions from 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," he added.
© 2011 AFP