Capital Charge Against Bradley Manning – UK Must Intervene

This evening the US military announced that Bradley Manning is to face 22 additional charges, including one of “aiding the enemy” in contravention of Article 104 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). This particular charge is a capital offence and although US prosecutors have said they “will not recommend” that Bradley Manning face the death penalty, it is the presiding military judge who actually gets to make that call. Capital punishment is therefore a real possibility.

Bradley Manning is a dual UK/US citizen facing prosecution in the United States. The UK has, to date, conspicuously failed to offer Bradley Manning its consular assistance – which would involve taking an official interest in the conditions in which he has been held for the past 10 months, conditions that are serious enough to have triggered the involvement of Amnesty and the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture.

Now that there is a capital charge, the British Government has the “special humanitarian reason” it requires in order to make formal representations to the United States and it should do so without any further delay. Bradley Manning is entitled to receive our consular support and this is now long overdue.

Please ask your MP to make sure the Foreign and Commonwealth Office fulfils its obligations towards Bradley. You can find your local MP’s contact details at

If you have already written to your MP, it is definitely worth following up with them now – the fact that the death penalty is now a real possibility really does change things. As ever, please do let us know when you receive a response.


8 responses to “Capital Charge Against Bradley Manning – UK Must Intervene

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  4. I’m pretty sure there have been cases where capital punishment has been overturned because the US failed to inform the suspect of his right to consular assistance at the time of arrest…I wanna say this involved a Mexican citizen, but I can’t think of the details. I’ll keep looking.

    • Please do – needless to say, that could be incredibly useful.

      • Got it – Article 36 of the Vienna Convention: Foreign nationals who are arrested or detained be given notice “without delay” of their right to have their embassy or consulate notified of that arrest. (

        I’m not sure whether Bradley counts as a foreign national, however, and the US has pulled out of the Optional Protocol which grants the ICJ jurisdiction in these sort of cases. They are still signed up to the treaty however…(

        Might at the very least be some good arguments. Basically I’m not a legal expert and I apologise if this isn’t very helpful, but there might be something here. Isn’t UK citizenship opt-out rather than opt-in if you’re from mixed parentage? Again, not an expert – but if anyone has a good understanding of these things then I hope this helps a little.

      • Aha! I am in touch with people who can be authoritative on this and will seek their advice. Brilliant tip – thank you!

        And yes, dual nationality is very much ‘opt-out’… although, in actual fact, it’s pretty difficult to opt out unless you decide to naturalise as the citizen of another country altogether. I believe that even if you renounce UK citizenship, you are allowed to claim it back – which means that, essentially, it can’t be lost.

  5. See, this was my gut impression, I know the US gets arsey about dual citizenship but in this case it’d be something automatic, rather than a foreigner naturalising in America and being encouraged to renounce their original citizenship. Anyways, glad I could help a little!

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