Chelsea Manning could face decades of solitary confinement after suicide attempt

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Trans whistleblower Chelsea Manning could be facing decades of solitary confinement, after attempting to take her own life.

Private Manning, who announced her transition to female in 2013, is currently imprisoned in Fort Leavenworth military prison after leaking details of classified government documents concerning alleged war crimes and rights abuses via WikiLeaks.

Manning has sued the US Army for her right to transition behind bars, and has also taken action against her “unjust” 35-year prison sentence – on the basis that her actions helped make public a large number of serious issues related to military practise.

The whistleblower was rushed to hospital last week after a suicide attempt, but later said in a statement she was “glad to be alive”.

However, civil rights groups have expressed outrage at fresh charges brought against Manning over the attempted suicide incident, which could see her placed in indefinite solitary confinement for the duration of her decades-long sentence.

Chase Strangio of the American Civil Liberties Union said: “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.

“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.”

Fight for the Future campaign director Evan Greer said: “The US 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.”

Manning faces charges of “conduct which threatens”, “prohbited property” and “resisting the force cell move team” over the incident.

If convicted she could face indefinite solitary confinement, reclassification into maximum security, and an additional nine years in medium custody. They may negate any chances of parole.

Indefinite periods of solitary confinement is considered a form of torture by prison reform campaigners.