Ohio Democrat Rep. Dennis Kucinich sent a letter Friday requesting a meeting with Bradley Manning, the imprisoned Army private who allegedly stole classified government documents that were eventually published by the website Wikileaks.
Manning is currently detained on a U.S. Marine base in Quantico, Virginia where he has been reportedly held in solitary confinement for extended periods of time since his arrest in May 2010.
Kucinich, an outspoken critic of the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, said in the letter addressed to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, that he wanted to ensure Manning was being treated properly in custody.
“I am concerned about reports of his treatment while in custody that describe alarming abuses of his constitutional rights and his physical health,” Kucinich wrote in the letter. “Private Manning’s guilt or innocence is a question for adjudication and his treatment at Quantico severely undermines the presumption of innocence as enshrined in the U.S. Constitution and raises questions as to whether he is truly able to stand trial. His care while in the custody of the Department of Defense is the responsibility of the U.S. Government and as a member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform it is my duty to conduct effective oversight.”
Kucinich has previously written to the Pentagon to receive confirmation that Manning’s treatment is not in violation of the “cruel and unusual” clause of the Eighth Amendment.
Wikileaks continues to release classified government documents that Manning allegedly supplied before his arrest. The website’s founder, Australian-born Julian Assange, currently lives in the United Kingdom.