US: Chelsea Manning’s lawyer says she wouldn’t be safe in civilian prison

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Chelsea Manning’s lawyer is claiming a leak which suggested she could be transferred to a civilian prison was a ‘transparent attempt’ to threaten her safety.

Yesterday, Associated Press reported that Pentagon sources were considering moving Manning – a transgender soldier who is currently serving a 35-year prison sentence for leaking files – from the military Fort Leavenworth prison to a civilian location.

The report had claimed that moving to a civilian prison would allow her access to requested hormone therapy she is being denied in military prisons, but her lawyer has dismissed this.

Lawyer David Coombs said in a statement: “The Pentagon’s strategic leak of this story to the media is a transparent attempt to pressure Chelsea into dropping her request for needed treatment under the artificial guise of concern for her medical needs.

“It is common knowledge that the federal prison system cannot guarantee the safety and security of Chelsea in the way that the military prison system can.

“Accordingly, Chelsea would face the ‘choice’ between receiving necessary medical treatment but potentially jeopardizing her personal safety, or not receiving necessary medical treatment but ensuring her personal safety.

“The Pentagon’s leak is intended to strong-arm Chelsea into backing down in her requests for medical treatment, ironically using the same method (leaking information) that sent Chelsea to prison for 35 years.

“The military’s refusal to provide necessary medical treatment to Chelsea is flat-out transphobia. Rather than deal with the reality that transgender persons are currently serving in the military, the military would seek to pawn off any responsibility for these individuals to other entities.

“There is absolutely no reason that the Fort Leavenworth facility could not provide HRT to Chelsea, other than a self-imposed and regressive policy that is based on archaic views of transgender persons as sexual deviants.