This story has been updated
NEW YORK — Detained U.S. Army Private Bradley Manning's supporters went public with their concerns about the harsh conditions of his imprisonment — he has no access to exercise or even a pillow and bedsheets during his solitary confinement — only after their complaints to the military over several months went unheeded.
As Salon's Glenn Greenwald reported on Wednesday, Manning, who has been accused of leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks, has never been convicted of any crime but has been detained at the U.S. Marine brig in Quantico "under conditions that constitute cruel and inhumane treatment and, by the standards of many nations, even torture."
"We were aware of those situations and we were hoping that they would improve without applying public pressure through the media," Jeff Paterson, who runs Manning's legal defense fund, told The Huffington Post. "His attorney and supporters were hoping that this could be taken care of through the appropriate channels."
Paterson says that Manning is "very annoyed" at the conditions of his confinement, adding that he is primarily upset at his inability to exercise. "He sits in this small box, for the most part only to take a shower - he just sits and eats and four months have gone by."
According to Paterson, Manning has been examined by Quantico's mental health officials, who declared that he is not a suicide risk -- yet he continues to be held in solitary confinement which is consistent with a suicide watch. His overall mental health evaluation, which was begun in September, is still ongoing and should be wrapped up in a few weeks, says Paterson. Manning's attorney, David Coombs did not return calls for comment. A spokesperson for the Pentagon did not return calls for comment.
Paterson said that despite WikiLeaks' promise to help fund Manning's legal defense, the organization has not forwarded any funds. CBS News reported last week that WikiLeaks had promised $20,000. But Paterson says that he recently received a brief message from the Wau Holland Foundation in Germany, the main fundraising platform for WikiLeaks, stating that the foundation faces a possible audit by German authorities and that it cannot promise any funds at this time.
As of last week, the defense fund had raised $95,000 from 1,350 people — Paterson said it is difficult to tell if any of those donations come from active members of the U.S. military.