Chelsea found guilty of absurd infractions, but spared solitary confinement
By the Chelsea Manning Support Network. August 19, 2015
After 100k petitions were delivered to the Army yesterday, the secret disciplinary panel at Fort Leavenworth military prison sentenced Chelsea to 21 days of restrictions on her recreational activities, including no access to the gym, library or outdoors.
We won an important victory by keeping Chelsea out of “indefinite solitary confinement;” however, this ruling of guilty on all four absurd charges is not without significant ramifications.
“Now these convictions will follow me through to any parole and clemency hearings, forever. I was expecting to be in minimum custody in February, but now years added,” Chelsea explained (via phone) after her hearing last night.
“As Chelsea’s lawyer, I am horrified and angry about these convictions. This was a star chamber where Chelsea had to defend herself in secret. These convictions will not silence her. She will only be stronger and we will fight that much harder in her appeal to overturn her convictions and her sentence,” declared Chelsea’s lead attorney Nancy Hollander.
Chelsea had formally petitioned for the hearing to be open to the public, or at the very least, her lawyers. DENIED. A few days ago, Chelsea began visiting the prison library to prepare her own defense. Prison staff DENIED her access. Chelsea made a formal demand to be tried by court martial instead of the secret panel. DENIED.
GUILTY of expired toothpaste. “A tube of anti-cavity toothpaste, MKIC, was found in your possession past its expiration date of 9 April 2015,” read the charge sheet. Note that this tube was recently sold to Chelsea by the prison.
GUILTY of unauthorized reading material, specifically: this month’s Caitlyn Jenner issue of Vanity Fair, the memoir “I Am Malala” by Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, the US Senate Report on Torture, the LGBT publication Out Magazine, and the Cosmopolitan issue featuring Chelsea’s interview. Note that these materials were delivered to Chelsea by the prison mail system.
GUILTY of disrespecting a guard, for simply asking to speak to her attorney before making a statement about what happened moments earlier in the mess hall.
And what started all this? Chelsea may have accidently knocked a small condiment packet (possibly mustard) off of her table during a meal. She’s not actually sure. Regardless, GUILTY of disorderly conduct.
Help us pay for Chelsea’s legal representation
A few days before the US Army concocted this new attack on Chelsea, we launched a new effort to finish paying for her critical legal representation. While fighting these battles to get fair treatment for Chelsea while she is in prison are important, our real goal to overturn her unjust Espionage Act conviction and draconian 35-year jail sentence.
We are only $15,000 short on paying for Chelsea’s appeal!
Donate today to take advantage of a $1,000 matching grant challenge by Veterans for Peace Chapter 14 in Gainesville, Florida!
A huge thank you to our previous grant challengers who helped put us within reach of this goal: Michael Moore, filmmaker * Arnold Aberman * JoAnne Allen * Henry & Dwayne Bortman * Bowen Cho * Benjamin Melancon * Pat McSweeney * Bill Potvin * Nancy Quinn * Stewart Taggart * Ben Terrall
Thank you immensely to anyone who has already contributed, or who gave recently via our friends at the Freedom of the Press Foundation. Additionally, we’ve raised $30,000 of our $45,000 goal to fully cover Chelsea upcoming appeals over the last two weeks. For more options and information about donating to Chelsea’s defense, click here.