Events were held across the world yesterday, including Britain, to mark the 1,000th day in prison for an American soldier arrested and charged over the alleged leaking of classified documents to whistleblowing website WikiLeaks.
Private Bradley Manning, now 25, was detained in May 2010 in Iraq on suspicion of having passed secret material to the website, founded by the Australian Julian Assange.
Manning is due to face a court martial in June at Fort Meade in Maryland. His supporters claim he is a hero, but prosecuting authorities will try him as an alleged traitor.
Yesterday, protests and demonstrations were staged in support of Manning across America and Europe. Major events were held in London, Cardiff and Yorkshire in the UK.
A spokesman for the Bradley Manning campaign group in the US said: “There has never been a more important time to broadcast our message of support for exposing war crimes, international justice, and people’s right to know what the government does in our name.”
Assange, meanwhile, has been holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since June last year, after claiming asylum there in order to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he faces allegations of sex offences – which he denies. He claims he could be sent to America by the Swedish authorities if extradited to answer the charges.
New York civil rights lawyer Chase Madar has written a book about Manning, raising a number of issues including the fact the soldier has been held in solitary confinement since his arrest. Madar has said that he believed Manning was a “tragic hero”.