Manning Faces Solitary Confinement For Suicide Attempt

| by Sam Gravity
Chelsea ManningChelsea Manning

Chelsea Manning, a U.S. Army soldier serving 35 years in prison for providing classified files to WikiLeaks, was sentenced to 14 days in solitary confinement for attempted suicide and keeping "prohibited property" in her cell, supporters said on Sept. 23.

Manning, born Bradley Edward Manning, revealed she identifies as a woman following her espionage conviction in 2013. The transgender army advocate tried to take her own life three years into her prison sentence, following what her lawyers described as the Army's "denial of appropriate healthcare," Reuters reports.

According to statements made to the Guardian, Manning was given the opportunity to review evidence of the suicide attempt to prepare her defense for the disciplinary hearing. In her report, Manning says she was not allowed legal assistance, and had to review photos of her taken immediately after the attempt while developing her case.

“Seeing this photograph has haunted me for the past week.” Manning wrote to the Guardian, days before her hearing. “... This process has forced me to relive one of the worst moments of my entire life.”

Manning was found guilty on Sept. 22 by prison officials of “conduct which threatens” for her suicide attempts, Reuters reports. The WikiLeaks contributor was also convicted of having “prohibited property” in her cell, reported to be the novel "Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy," by Gabriella Coleman.

"My punishment is 14 days in solitary confinement." Manning explained in a statement released by supporters. "7 of those days are 'suspended.' If I get in trouble in the next six months, those seven days will come back."

"I am feeling hurt. I am feeling lonely. I am embarrassed by the decision. I don't know how to explain it." she added.

Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison after contributing more than 700,000 military documents and videos to WikiLeaks, one of the largest breaches of classified material in American history. Military parole rules could allow her to leave prison just seven years into the sentence, Reuters reports.

In Sept. 2016, Manning went on a hunger strike in hopes that the Army would allow her to receive gender transition surgery. On Sept. 20, she announced to the Guardian that her strike had ended, after the military agreed to provide her gender dysmorphia treatment. The decision came the same week she received charges for her suicide attempt.

Manning wrote in her statement that she has 15 days to appeal her sentence, but did not specify whether she will do so.

Sources: Reuters, Fight for the Future, The Guardian / Photo credit: Alicia Neal/Wikimedia Commons

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