US denies mistreating WikiLeaks suspect

December 18, 2010 05:19

WASHINGTON— The US Defense Department on Friday denied reports that the Army private suspected of passing classified information to WikiLeaks is being mistreated at a Marine prison near Washington.

Jeff Paterson, director of the California-based Courage to Resist project, said visitors report that Pfc. Bradley Manning generally spends at least 23 hours a day alone in a cell no larger than about 64 square feet (6 sq. meters)."We believe it's a form of punishment prior to conviction," Paterson said of the terms of Manning's confinement while awaiting possible court martial.

Paterson has not visited Manning personally but others who have described conditions in the prison.

Defense Department spokesman Col. Dave Lapan told reporters that Manning has the same privileges as all other prisoners held in what the military calls "maximum custody."

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