Russia urges US to respect rights of WikiLeaks suspect

March 9th, 2012 - 9:43 am ICT by IANS  

Moscow, March 9 (IANS) Russia wants the US to respect the human rights of a soldier accused of leaking American classified information through whistleblowing website WikiLeaks, a Russian foreign ministry official said.

Army Private Bradley Manning, 24, was arrested in May 2010 for allegedly leaking thousands of classified US diplomatic cables and battlefield reports from Iraq and Afghanistan to WikiLeaks.

According to Xinhua, Konstantin Dolgov, the Russian foreign ministry’s commissioner for human rights, democracy and the rule of law, criticised the US after a report from UN Human Rights envoy Juan Ernesto Mendez accused the American government of “inhuman and degrading treatment” against Manning.

Manning has complained of being held in solitary confinement, of bullying by guards and of being subjected to an ultra-restrictive regime.

He faces 22 charges, including abetting the enemy — a charge that carries a maximum punishment of life in prison. The other charges carry a combined maximum of more than 150 years behind bars.

Dolgov said the US must pay attention to the UN report.

“Judging from the big importance Washington lays to the human rights and freedom issues, we expect the US authorities would act in a strict compliance with their international obligations toward their own citizens, including Manning,” Dolgov was quoted as saying by Xinhua.

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