Now that Bradley Manning’s dual citizenship is well and truly on the record, we want to be absolutely clear about why this is important.
Being a UK citizen does not make Bradley Manning’s case more important than that of any other prisoner of conscience. We would like to see all prisoners in his position, of whatever nationality, treated fairly.
Being a UK citizen does not make Bradley Manning more deserving of our sympathy. There is, unfortunately, no shortage of people who deserve it just as much.
Being a UK citizen does not mean that Bradley Manning should be able expect a different standard of care to any other individual in his position. Bradley is entitled to receive due process. He should not be subjected to “severe pain and suffering, whether physical or mental.” This is the bare minimum that any prisoner in pre-trial detention should be able to expect.
There is one reason, and one reason only, why it matters that Bradley Manning is a citizen of the United Kingdom: it matters because it means that the UK Government has an absolute obligation to offer Bradley Manning its consular assistance, to investigate the conditions in which he is held and, if necessary, to help him. On 1st February, The Guardian reported that the British Embassy in Washington “had not received any requests to visit Manning in jail” despite widespread concern about the conditions of his detention. To date, the UK Government has conspicuously failed to fulfil its obligations towards Bradley Manning.