Posted July 28, 2016, 9:08 PM
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, July 28, 2016
Contact: Christina DiPasquale, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202.716.1953
LEAVENWORTH, KS––Imprisoned whistleblower Chelsea Manning reported to attorneys and friends that she received a document from
Army officials today informing her that she is being investigated for serious new charges related to her July 5th, 2016 attempt to take her own life. If convicted of these bizarre “administrative offenses,” she could be placed in indefinite solitary confinement for the remainder of her sentence.
Chelsea has been systematically mistreated by the U.S. government since she was first taken into custody in 2010, including long stretches of solitary confinement (which the UN considers to be a form of torture), which she was subjected to for 9 months, even before she had ever been convicted, and continuing to deny her the medical treatment she needs for her gender dysphoria, which medical experts have clearly stated is the only course of treatment in which she would no longer be suicidal.
At this time, Chelsea is not receiving adequate psychological counseling, as her course of treatment is constantly irregular and therefore less effective. Having uncertainty, from day to day, regarding what medical treatment she is even going to receive is stressful in itself, and is certainly not what someone recovering from a suicide attempt should be subjected to.
Chelsea is a trans woman being forced to serve out her sentence in an all male maximum security prison. Although Chelsea tries to stay focused on her writing and advocacy, being a woman in a all male prison is dehumanizing and exhausting emotionally. It is unnecessarily cruel to threaten her with punishment while in this very vulnerable state. We must pressure the Secretary of the Army to take a personal interest and dismiss these absurd charges against Chelsea.
These new charges, which Army employees verbally informed Chelsea were related to the July 5th incident, include: 1) “resisting the force cell move team,” 2) “prohibited property,” and 3) “conduct which threatens.”Chelsea dictated the complete contents of the charge sheet to a supporter over the phone. It is transcribed here.
“It is deeply troubling that Chelsea is now being subjected to an investigation and possible punishment for her attempt to take her life. 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. 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.”
As the ACLU explains in a press release: “These new charges, which Army employees verbally informed Chelsea were related to the July 5th incident, include, ‘resisting the force cell move team;’ ‘prohibited property;’ and ‘conduct which threatens.’ 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.”
“The U.S. government’s treatment of Chelsea is a travesty. 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,” said Fight for the Future campaign director Evan Greer. The group advocates for civil liberties and free speech and collected more than 100,000 signatures last year when the Army threatened Chelsea with solitary confinement for possession of LGBTQ reading material and an expired tube of toothpaste.
These charges are egregious and should be dropped immediately. Chelsea needs to be given the proper counseling, be allowed to grow her hair, and have her gender dysphoria condition treated seriously by the prison.