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Pretrial Hearing In WikiLeaks Case To Wrap Up This Week

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Protesters supporting Bradley Manning have been gathering outside Fort Meade during his pretrial hearing there. 
Elliott Francis
Protesters supporting Bradley Manning have been gathering outside Fort Meade during his pretrial hearing there. 

A former Marine Corps brig commander says her decision to have underwear removed from an Army private charged in the WikiLeaks case prompted a request that she run future orders involving Pfc. Bradley Manning up the chain of command before executing them.

Chief Warrant Officer Denise Barnes testified Monday on the 10th day of a pretrial hearing at Fort Meade. The hearing is to determine whether the nine months Manning spent at the brig in Quantico, Va., amounted to illegal pretrial punishment.

Barnes says she was never ordered to keep Manning in maximum custody, with additional restrictions to prevent self-injury. She was the commander at the brig in Quantico for the last three months of Manning's confinement.

The defense contends Manning's conditions were dictated by Lt. Gen. George Flynn, then the highest ranking officer at Quantico.

The judge at Fort Meade, Col. Denise Lind, has already heard nine days of testimony about Manning's confinement at the Marine base at Quantico, Va. While he's accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of classified military documents, his lawyers allege his case should be thrown out because he was illegally imprisoned in harsh conditions, being held in his cell for 23 hours a day with only 20 minutes provided for exercise.

Military officials at Quantico argue they isolated Manning because of his history of depression, suicidal gestures and the seriousness of the charges against him. The defense argues military regulations were broken and abused during Manning s nine months being held in highly restrictive custody.

Closing arguments in the pretrial hearing are expected to begin this Wednesday. The judge is expected to release her verdict in February and Manning's actual court martial begins in March.

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