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Judge Bars UN Official As WikiLeaks Case Witness

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FORT MEADE, Md. (AP) — A military judge is barring the United Nations’ torture investigator from testifying about the pretrial detention of a U.S. Army private charged with leaking classified information.

Col. Denise Lind ruled during a pretrial hearing Thursday at Fort Meade, Md. She said Juan Mendez’ testimony is irrelevant to whether Pfc. Bradley Manning’s nine months in maximum-security confinement at a Marine Corps brig amounted to illegal punishment.

The court will hear arguments on that issue next month.

Mendez accused the United States last year of violating U.N. rules by refusing him unfettered access to Manning. The soldier is charged with aiding the enemy by passing classified documents to WikiLeaks.

Manning was held at the brig in Quantico, Va., before he was moved in April 2011 to medium-security confinement at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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