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WikiLeaks: Manning Seeks Dismissal In Pretrial Hearing

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Protesters supporting Bradley Manning gathered outside the pre-trial hearing of Bradley Manning at Fort Meade, Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012. 
Elliott Francis
Protesters supporting Bradley Manning gathered outside the pre-trial hearing of Bradley Manning at Fort Meade, Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012. 

U.S. Army Private Bradley Manning was back in front of a military court at Fort Meade in Maryland Wednesday for day two of pretrial testimony in the WikiLeaks trial. 

Marine Col. Robert Oltman testified Wednesday that the recent suicide of another detainee after his custody status was reduced made Oltman skeptical about a psychiatrist's recommendation to ease Manning's confinement conditions.

Manning was locked up alone in a small cell for nearly nine months and had to sleep naked for several nights. Manning's attorney, David Coombs, argues his client was subjected to unlawful pre-trial punishment and onerous confinement.

Oltman told medical staffers that Manning should remain in highly restrictive confinement unless senior officers decided otherwise.

Later, Navy psychologist Capt. William Hockter took the stand. He told defense attorneys that Manning's treatment was unnecessary, because Manning showed no suicidal tendencies, and shouldn't have been under Preventive Injury Status.

The first day of testimony featured just one witness: retired Col. Daniel Choike, former commander of the brig at the Marine Corps base in Quantico, Va. where Manning was held for nearly a year. Choike told the court that Manning's imprisonment remained the same even after psychiatrists recommended changes, according to the Associated Press.

Manning, who wants the judge to drop all charges, is expected to testify in his own defense sometime in the next few days.

"He will describe what happened when he was confined there in solitary confinement, the way he was treated and how he was abused," says Kevin Zeese, an attorney with the Bradley Manning Support Network. "The UN report on torture states that his confinement was cruel, unusual and degrading punishment. He will testify about that and I think it'll be powerful testimony."

The pre-trial hearing is expected to last five days and will continue Thursday.

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