Manning's lawyer: My client was kept like "a zoo animal"

In his closing pretrial argument, attorney David Coombs decried the military's refusal to listen to psychiatrists

Natasha Lennard
December 12, 2012 3:32AM (UTC)

In the closing arguments Tuesday in a motion on Pfc. Bradley Manning's pretrial detention conditions, Manning's attorney said his client was kept like "a zoo animal."

"The conditions that Manning was under, they can only equate to death row detainees," said the soldier's attorney, David Coombs. "If the Quantico brig could have put him in a straitjacket in a padded room and not had anybody complain, they would have." Manning's defense is claiming that the accused whistle-blower was subjected to unlawful pre-trial punishment, and are calling for all charges against the soldier to be dismissed as a result.


Coombs claimed that there was an institutional resistance in Quantico to listening to psychiatrists' advice about Manning. The Fort Meade court has heard testimony over the last two weeks from Manning himself alongside a host of Quantico staff about the nature of his detention. Much of Coombs' argument has rested on testimony from psychiatrists who advised that Manning did not need to be kept under Prevention of Injury status, which entailed a harsh regime of regular checks by brig guards.

Military judge Col. Denise Lind did not immediately rule on the motion, but a decision could come in the next several weeks.  Manning's case is not expected to go to full court-martial trial until March next year, but Lind's court will convene again on Jan. 8, when the judge will consider further pretrial motions, including the government's request to exclude Manning's motives from the findings portion of the trial.

Natasha Lennard

Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email

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Big Story You Missed Bradley Manning David Coombs Fort Meade Pretrial Hearing Whistelblower Wikileaks

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