Prison punishes Chelsea with 14 days of solitary for suicide attempt

For Immediate Release: September 23, 2016
Contact: Evan Greer, 978-852-6457, [email protected]

BREAKING: Prison disciplinary board decides to punish Chelsea Manning with solitary confinement for charges related to suicide attempt

LEAVENWORTH, KS––A prison disciplinary board has decided to punish imprisoned transparency advocate Chelsea Manning with 14 days of solitary confinement (with 7 days suspended) for charges directly related to her suicide attempt in July, and possession of an unmarked book in her cell. The decision is the latest example of the U.S. government’s campaign of harassment and mistreatment of Chelsea, who has been incarcerated in all male military facilities for 6 years.

See a detailed summary of the charges Chelsea faced here.

Chelsea Manning released the following statement to supporters:

“My three member disciplinary board took place today.

I presented evidence and was allowed to question witnesses through the board president. The hearing lasted four hours. There was a break for lunch.

I waited nervously for the board to vote. I received the decision after 30 minutes.

I was acquitted of the “Resisting The Force Cell Move Team” charge.

I was found guilty of the “Conduct Which Threatens” charge. This charge was for the suicide attempt.

I was found guilty of the “Prohibited Property” charge, which was for an unmarked copy of “Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy,” by Gabriella Coleman.

My punishment is 14 days in solitary confinement. 7 of those days are “suspended.” If I get in trouble in the next six months, those seven days will come back.

The term for this status is “disciplinary segregation.”

There is no set date set for this to start. After I receive the formal board results in writing, I have 15 days to appeal. I expect to get them in the next few days.

I am feeling hurt. I am feeling lonely. I am embarrassed by the decision. I don’t know how to explain it.

I am touched by your warm messages of love and support. This comforts me in my time of need.”

Last week, following a 5-day hunger strike and a flurry of public protest, the government finally agreed to provide Chelsea with some of the health care that she needs. Despite the good news related to medical treatment, Chelsea will now be punished with solitary confinement, which the United Nations has condemned as a form of torture.

The July incident where Chelsea attempted to take her own life followed years of the government systematically denying her access to medically recommended treatment for gender dysphoria, and previous threats of solitary confinement following minor prison “infractions,” including possession of mislabeled general research materials that Chelsea used for article writing and an expired tube of toothpaste.

After she receives written notification of her solitary confinement sentence, Chelsea has 15 days to appeal the disciplinary board’s decision.

Fight for the Future, a digital rights group that has been supporting Chelsea, is encouraging all supporters of human rights to sign the petition at calling for the U.S. government to drop these unjust charges. Celebrities including Michael Stipe of REM, Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, and Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth, have uploaded videos speaking out on Chelsea’s behalf and asking fans to sign the petition. The group plans to keep supporters updated on Chelsea’s situation, and ways to take action to support her.



4 thoughts on “Prison punishes Chelsea with 14 days of solitary for suicide attempt

  1. America’s true character is revealed in how horrifically it treats heroic figures like Chelsea – buried alive in harsh prison confinement for doing the right thing, a model for others to emulate. I salute her extraordinary courage.

  2. I am furious with the criminal US government. If we weren’t powerless before it, I’d be less furious and more hopeful. My sympathy for Chelsea is deep. She may not believe in God (as in ‘not’ humankind), but I do and I am looking forward to his reversal of harms done via great injustices perpetrated by obscene ‘law & order’ governments. Hang in there Chelsea.

  3. I am a private citizen and hold no judgement on the original charges against Ms. Manning, as I do not feel I have sufficient information to do so. However, as a fellow human being, I feel deep sympathy for the now Ms. Manning’s plight and abhor that she has to face 14 days of solitary confinement as a punishment for her suicide attempt. I understand that solitary confinement is a deeply affecting, soul-sapping punishment, and the UN has declared the use of solitary of more than 15 days as torture. For someone already deeply miserable and depressed, it is a punishment that confounds and angers me. In this day and age and in this country, I would have hoped counseling and support is what a person in Ms. Manning’s situation would be offered, not a punishment, and certainly not one that would exacerbate the symptoms that led to Ms. Manning’s trying to end her own life. The situation defies common sense, let alone humanity and compassion.

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