Chelsea Manning Is Being Charged for Own Suicide Attempt - Could Face Long-Term Solitary

Human Rights

The U.S. military is reportedly taking punitive action against jailed whistleblower Chelsea Manning for her own suicide attempt, a development that could land her in long-term solitary confinement, her supporters report.

According to the ACLU, Manning received a document form the Army on July 28 “informing her that she is being investigated for serious new charges related to her July 5th attempt to take her own life.”

Specifically, the new charges were “related to the July 5th incident, include, ‘resisting the force cell move team;’ ‘prohibited property;’ and ‘conduct which threatens,’” the ACLU explained. “If convicted, Chelsea could face punishment including indefinite solitary confinement, reclassification into maximum security, and an additional nine years in medium custody. They may negate any chances of parole.”

While the ACLU was unable to obtain the document, Manning dictated its full contents, and the transcript can be seen here. Attorneys say that the charges were also verbally confirmed by military officials.

“It is deeply troubling that Chelsea is now being subjected to an investigation and possible punishment for her attempt to take her life,” said ACLU Staff Attorney Chase Strangio in a press statement. “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 continued. “It is unconscionable and we hope that the investigation is immediately ended and that she is given the health care that she needs to recover.”

Manning has already faced harsh treatment at the hands of the U.S. army, with U.N. special rapporteur on torture Juan Mendez concluded in 2012 that the United States is guilty of “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment” for holding her in solitary confinement for nearly a year.

After publicly coming out as a transgender woman in 2013, Manning has faced a constant battle to receive the most basic gender-affirming care in the face of repeated denials from the military, and she is being forced to serve her 35-year sentence in an all-male military prison in Leavenworth, Kansas.

Many believe that her severe treatment stems from retaliation for her role in releasing to WikiLeaks key State Department Cables, the Afghanistan War Diary, Iraq War Logs, and Collateral Murder video exposing U.S. war crimes, killing of civilians and lies to the public.

“The U.S. government’s treatment of Chelsea is a travesty,” said Fight for the Future campaign director Evan Greer. “Those in charge should know that the whole world is watching, and we won’t stand idly by while this administration continues to harass and abuse Chelsea Manning.”

Manning, who has become a human rights advocate and Guardian columnist from behind bars, is currently appealing her heavy sentence. She is also suing Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and other Department of Defense and Army officials for denying her gender-affirming treatment as a transgender woman.

Nearly 20,000 people have signed a petition which declares, "Punishing Chelsea Manning for attempting to take her own life after systemic mistreatment is inhumane."

Manning took to Twitter on Monday to thank her global supporters for their outpouring of support following news of her suicide attempt and the military’s swift retaliation.

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