ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Gross Human Rights Abuse of Bradley Manning

We read with distress about the gross human rights abuse of Bradley Manning, in the Los Angeles Times editorial (10 January), and The Guardian report (21 January). As President Barack Obama of the United States himself admitted a few days ago during the visit of President Hu Jintao of China: “Freedom of speech,freedom of religion, freedom of assembly – that we think are very important and that transcend cultures”. Manning is alleged to have made information avail able to WikiLeaks, most of it of a harmless nature. He has not been brought to trial though several months have passed, and till he is sentenced in a court of law he should be deemed innocent, as is the practice in every civilised country. Hence, it is distressing to read in the press statements mentioned above that the “conditions under which he is being held at the Marine detention center at Quantico, Virginia, are so harsh as to suggest he is being punished for conduct of which he hasn’t been convicted” (LA Times). He is almost in solitary confi nement, without his clothes, and questioned every five minutes day and night. The Guardian report adds “He was forced to sit in essential blindness”.

President Obama pointed out to President Hu that “we come from very different cultures with very different histories”. The US till modern times practised slavery over several million Afro-Americans, and till a few decades ago lynching and extrajudicial murder of blacks was a tolerated practice. Religious fundamentalism has also prevented the teaching of scientifi c knowledge about evolution in large parts of that country. The American Press also did not disclose to the people wide governmental support of oppressive dictators around the world. Governmental policies while supporting the very rich has also pushed over 50 million Americans into dire poverty. Despite these historical, cultural and economic shortcomings, we urge President Obama to follow inter nationally accepted human rights standards in all cases. Such lack of human rights is of grave concern to humanity since the US government is in charge of the largest repository of weapons of mass destruction.

Vithal Rajan

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