Chelsea Manning Could Face Indefinite Solitary Confinement Over Suicide Attempt

Chelsea Manning

Whistleblower Chelsea Manning is being investigated on charges related to a recent suicide attempt at Fort Leavenworth prison. If convicted, she will face indefinite solitary confinement.

Manning, now 28, was arrested in 2010 and received a sentence of 35 years back in 2013. This was after she was found guilty of 20 charges under court martial, including six under the Espionage Act of 1917 for whistleblowing after revealing war crimes committed by the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Since she has been behind bars, her legal team has constantly complained about Manning’s treatment, which they state has had an impact on both her mental and physical health. As a transgender woman in an all-male military prison, Manning has been subjected to prolonged periods of solitary confinement and has been denied medical treatment related to her gender dysphoria.

After a suicide attempt on July 5 at Fort Leavenworth prison, Chelsea is now facing additional charges and, if she is convicted, will face indefinite solitary confinement.

At the time of the suicide attempt, Manning was rushed to the hospital and the following week, confirmed through an attorney statement that she had tried to end her own life.

Reportedly the circumstances surrounding the suicide attempt have not been disclosed, but the ACLU did say it occurred in her cell and that the whistleblower lost consciousness.

On July 12, Manning headed to Twitter to send a message, saying she is glad to be alive.

On July 26, she tweeted again, saying she is feeling better every day.

According to RT News, Manning received an Army charge sheet on Thursday, informing her she is under investigation for “resisting the force cell move team,” “prohibited property,” and “conduct which threatens [life].” The document was released by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

The ACLU has denounced the latest disciplinary action as “unconscionable.” According to the ACLU, the latest charges will have even more of a negative impact on Chelsea’s mental health, as she is struggling to deal with depression, especially if she faces indefinite solitary confinement.

ACLU Staff Attorney Chase Strangio said, “The government has long been aware of Chelsea’s distress associated with the denial of medical care related to her gender transition and yet delayed and denied the treatment recognized as necessary.”

“Now, while Chelsea is suffering the darkest depression she has experienced since her arrest, the government is taking actions to punish her for that pain,” Strangio added.

After spending 24 hours in hospital, Manning has been returned to confinement at the Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where she remains in a medical observation unit.

The ACLU added that, besides the new charges, the Army continues to deny the inmate access to “basic health care” and was providing only “inadequate” medical treatment since her suicide attempt.

According to a report by the Telegraph, Pentagon and Army officials did not immediately reply to Reuters‘ requests for comment in the matter.

Among the intelligence revealed by Manning to the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks, were more than 700,000 documents, videos, diplomatic cables, and battlefield accounts. The matter was ranked as the largest breach of classified materials in U.S. history.

Among the files was a gun sight video – dubbed “Collateral Murder” by WikiLeaks – of a U.S. Apache helicopter, firing on suspected Iraqi insurgents back in 2007. That attack killed a dozen people, including two Reuters journalists.

[Photo via Wikimedia Commons by United States Army/Public Domain]