Earlier this month, imprisoned whistleblower Chelsea Manning attempted to commit suicide in her jail cell. She failed and now faces the possibility of serving the remainder of her decades-long sentence in solitary confinement.
Since she was first taken into custody in 2010, Manning, a trans woman serving time in an all-male prison, has undergone several stints in solitary confinement and been continuously denied medical treatment for her gender dysphoria. The compounded distress led Chelsea to attempt suicide by hanging in her prison cell on July 5.
On the day of the attempt, she was discovered by Army officials and taken to the hospital. While in recovery, she was informed that she was being charged with a series of “administrative offenses” related to her failed effort to end her life.
Officials verbally informed Manning that these charges included resisting the force cell move team, possessing prohibited property and “conduct which threatens.” In addition to the threat of indefinite solitary confinement, if convicted, Chelsea could be transferred from her current medium security facility to a maximum one and have additional time added to her sentence.
“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,” said ACLU Staff Attorney Chase Strangio.
“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.”
Evan Greer, campaign director for Fight for the Future, a group that advocates for civil liberties and free speech, added that the government’s treatment of Manning is a “travesty,” but that the “whole world is watching” and won’t “stand idly by while this administration continues to harass and abuse Chelsea Manning.”
As of this writing, it’s unclear when Manning will be forced to face these charges. She continues to be denied both basic health care and adequate medical treatment for her suicide attempt.