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WikiLeaks Suspect Being Transferred To Kansas Prison

U.S. Army intelligence agent Bradley Manning in an undated Facebook photo
American officials have announced that the U.S. soldier accused of obtaining thousands of secret U.S. government documents that were later published by the WikiLeaks website is being moved to a military prison in the central state of Kansas.

Jeh Johnson, the Pentagon's general counsel, said on April 19 that Private Bradley Manning was being moved from a Marine base in Quantico, Virginia, near Washington, to a detention facility at the Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, military base.

Johnson said the transfer should not be seen as a criticism of Manning's treatment at Quantico. Manning's lawyers have complained that the 23-year-old soldier was mistreated at the Virginia Marine facility, confined alone in his cell for 23 hours per day, forced to sleep naked and woken repeatedly during the night to ensure his safety.

The Pentagon's chief legal officer added that Manning was being assessed to determine whether he is "mentally competent" to face a potential trial.

"We are told that the medical opinion concerning Private Manning's competence to stand trial may take additional time," Hohnson said. "At this juncture of the case, we have decided that the new joint regional correctional facility at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, is the most appropriate facility for Private Manning for continued pretrial detention."

Manning has been charged with illegally obtaining hundreds of thousands of U.S. military and diplomatic cables that were later released by WikiLeaks.

U.S. officials say the documents' publication has complicated U.S. diplomatic relations with some countries.

compiled from agency reports