David E. Coombs, the attorney representing Bradley Manning, discusses the laws that apply for attempting to secure more humane treatment for the young man in the Marine brig in Quantico:
The defense has raised the conditions of PFC Bradley Manning's confinement conditions on multiple occasions with the Quantico confinement facility and the Army Staff Judge Advocate's (SJA) Office assigned to handle this case. Our efforts, unfortunately, have not resulted any in positive results. To its credit, the SJA office is attempting to correct this situation. However, given the fact that Quantico is a Marine Corps facility, it has similarly had no success.
PFC Bradley Manning, unlike his civilian counterpart, is afforded no civil remedy for illegal restraint under either the Federal Civil Rights Act or the Federal Tort Claims Act. Similarly, the protection from cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment and Article 55 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) does not generally apply prior to a court-martial. Thus, the only judicial recourse that is available is under Article 13 of the UCMJ. Article 13 safeguards against unlawful pretrial punishment and embodies the precept that an accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Article 13 provides that:
No person, while being held for trial, may be subjected to punishment or penalty other than arrest or confinement upon the charges pending against him, nor shall the arrest or confinement imposed upon him be any more rigorous than the circumstances required to insure his presence, but he may be subjected to minor punishment during that period for infractions of discipline.
David House, a personal friend of Manning, visited him in the brig over the weekend, and plans to blog about the conditions on Firedoglake.
And, related: A Boing Boing reader points to instructions on how one might send postal mail to Manning, if one is so inclined.