Internet money-changer PayPal has lifted a ban on the account of a group raising funds for alleged US Army whistle-blower Bradley Manning's legal defence.
The eBay-owned organisation said it had temporarily suspended the account of Courage to Resist, which is raising cash to help the soldier accused of downloading and leaking thousands of classified military documents, because of a clerical error.
Courage to Resist responded to Thursday's suspension by calling PayPal 'Evil' in a statement which read: "The online payment provider PayPal has frozen the account of Courage to Resist, which in collaboration with the Bradley Manning Support Network is currently raising funds in support of US Army Pfc. Bradley Manning. PayPal was one way people - especially international residents - were able to contribute to the grassroots effort supporting the accused WikiLeaks whistle-blower."
"We've been in discussions with PayPal for weeks, and by their own admission there's no legal obligation for them to close down our account," said Loraine Reitman of the Bradley Manning Support Network (Support Network). "This was an internal policy decision by PayPal."
PayPal has denied accusations of collusion with the US Government, insisting that the account had been suspended because the Courage To Resist organisation had failed to follow PayPal guidelines in relation to bank accounts.
In response to the row, PayPal's director of communications said: "While it is generally not our policy to comment publicly on account dealings, we are sharing the following statement to clarify information regarding the Courage To Resist organization’s PayPal account and their claim that this is somehow associated with their support of US Army Pfc. Bradley Manning. Let me be clear, this decision had nothing to do with WikiLeaks.
"We recently placed a temporary limitation of the Courage to Resist organisation’s PayPal account as they had not complied to our stated policy requiring non profits to associate a bank account with their PayPal account (for the vast majority of non-profits, this is not an issue).
"In a press release issued today, the Courage to Resist organisation claimed that their resistance to follow our policy is because PayPal sought to withdraw funds from their checking account. To be clear: PayPal cannot take such action without the authorisation of an account holder, nor does it ever take such unauthorised actions.
"Upon review, and as part of our normal business procedures, we have decided to lift the temporary restriction placed on their account because we have sufficient information to meet our statutory ‘Know Your Customer’ obligations. The Courage to Resist PayPal account is now fully operational."
Manning, who could technically be a UK citizen because of his Welsh parentage, is currently being held at the US army brig in Quantico under 'maximum custody' conditions which have been condemned as 'torture' by human rights groups.