'WikiLeaker' Manning to take stand over claims of 'mistreatment by military jailers'
US Army private Bradley Manning, who has been accused of leaking a massive cache of classified US documents to WikiLeaks, is expected to take the stand for the first time over claims that he was mistreated by military jailers.
Manning's lawyer, David Coombs, filed a motion last August to dismiss charges based on a claim, Manning says, of harsh treatment while held at the brig at the Marine base at Quantico, Virginia.
According to CNN, the pre-trial hearing that starts on Tuesday at a Maryland court, will be the first time Manning will have spoken in court other than answering procedural questions, said Jeff Paterson, a spokesman for the Bradley Manning Support Network.
Manning's lawyers and supporters claim he was subjected to mistreatment during his time in the jail from July 2010 until he was moved to the military prison at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, in April 2011, according to Paterson.
Paterson said Manning was required to stand nude in front of guards outside his cell, was prevented from exercising, and had to respond every five minutes - around the clock - to loud verbal queries to ensure he was not trying to commit suicide.
According to the report, the Pentagon has maintained that Manning was held in accordance with rules governing all maximum-custody detainees at Quantico for his protection and the safety of others, and that Manning was on "POI" status, for "prevention of injury."
Manning is suspected of leaking hundreds of thousands of classified military and State Department documents to the whistle blowing website founded by Julian Assange while serving in Iraq.
WikiLeaks has, however, never confirmed that Manning was the source of the information.