It's embarrassing that Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch--Amnesty International headquartered in London and Human Rights Watch headquartered in New York--have refused to refer to Bradley Manning as a political prisoner or a prisoner of conscience.
To name someone a political prisoner means that the case is political in nature. It can be that the prisoner committed a political act or was politically motivated or there was a politization of the legal investigation or the trial.
Any one of these is sufficient, according to Amnesty's own definition, to name someone a political prisoner. But Bradley Manning's case fulfills all of these criteria. Despite this, Amnesty International has said that it's not going to make a decision until after the sentence. But what good is that?
What is Amnesty's rationale for waiting?
Their excuse is that they don't know what might come out in the trial and they want to be sure that Bradley released the information in a "responsible manner."
I find their position grotesque. Bradley Manning is the most famous political prisoner the United States has. He has been detained without trial for over 1,000 days. Not even the US government denies his alleged acts were political.
Human Rights Watch doesn't refer to Bradley Manning as a political prisoner either. These groups should be pushed by the public to change their stand. And they should be boycotted if they continue to shirk acting in their own backyard.
Another way for people to support Bradley Manning is to attend his trial in Ft. Meade, Maryland, which begins on June 2, and the rally on June 1. They can learn more by contacting the Bradley Manning Support Network.
Thank you for your time, Julian.
Medea Benjamin is cofounder of www.codepink.org and www.globalexchange.org , and author of Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control. She interviewed Assange on April 18, 2013. For more information about Assange's case, see http://justice4assange.com/extraditing-assange.html .
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