UPDATE: Bradley Manning, the Army private allegedly behind the Wikileaks release of State Department cables, doesn’t consider himself a UK citizen and won’t be pursuing that avenue in his effort to be released from solitary confinement, Manning’s lawyer said Wednesday.
In what was widely seen as an attempt to gather more official support for Manning, Amnesty International had earlier declared Manning to be a British citizen, and called on the government in London to inquire into Manning’s controversial detention at the Marine brig in Quantico, Virginia.
But Manning “does not hold a British passport, nor does he consider himself a British citizen,” his lawyer, David Coombs, blogged.
“He is an American, and is proud to be serving in the United States Army,” Coombs added.
Under British law, Manning is automatically considered a citizen if one of his parents was born a British citizen. As Manning’s mother was reportedly born in Wales, Manning is technically a British citizen.
But absent an effort by Manning to establish this — such as applying for a British passport — the British government likely has no records of Manning as a UK citizen.
Update by Daniel Tencer
ORIGINAL STORY FOLLOWS BELOW
Rights groups revealed Tuesday that Bradley Manning — the US soldier accused of leaking 260,000 US State Department cables to secrets outlet WikiLeaks — deserves the protection of the British government because he is a UK citizen.
“His Welsh parentage means the UK government should demand that his ‘maximum custody’ status does not impair his ability to defend himself, and we would also like to see Foreign Office officials visiting him just as they would any other British person detained overseas and potentially facing trial on very serious charges,” Amnesty International UK director Kate Allen told The Guardian Tuesday.
Under the British Nationality Act of 1983, Manning was considered to be a UK citizen because his mother was Welsh.
Manning’s mother, whose maiden name was Susan Fox, was born in Haverfordwest, Wales in 1953, according to government databases. She married Brian Manning, a US serviceman stationed near the city. The couple had Bradley while living in Oklahoma in 1987.
“Nationality is like an elastic band: it stretches to one generation born outside the UK to a British parent,” Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association’s Alison Harvey said. “And that makes Bradley Manning British.”
But as of Tuesday evening, UK authorities had not received an official request to visit Manning.
“It hasn’t crossed our path yet,” one official said.
In mid-January, the blog UK Friends of Bradley Manning was established to help Manning assert his consular rights.
“It has been confirmed to me that Susan Manning was born in the United Kingdom,” a blogger named Naomi wrote. “Bradley Manning has been a UK citizen since the moment of his birth and remains a UK citizen today. The UK Government now has some very serious questions to answer.”
Manning has been held in some form of solitary confinement for at least the past six months. He faces charges the Army says could result in up to 52 years in prison.
The United Nations’ special rapporteur for torture has reportedly launched an investigation into complaints that Manning’s treatment at Quantico amounts to torture.
— With earlier reporting by Daniel Tencer.