KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Chelsea Manning attempted suicide for the second time in recent months while the transgender soldier remains imprisoned in Kansas for leaking classified information, two of her attorneys said Friday.
Attorneys Vincent Ward and Chase Strangio declined to divulge details of Manning’s suicide attempt last month at a military prison at Kansas’ Fort Leavenworth. Wayne Hall, an Army spokesman, said medical privacy laws barred him from discussing the matter.
But Manning’s attorneys cited her prison conditions — including the solitary confinement that her legal team says she received as punishment for her July suicide attempt — as contributing to their client’s fragile mental state.
Strangio, in an email to The Associated Press, called her treatment since her 2010 arrest and subsequent time serving a 35-year sentence “demoralizing and destabilizing assaults on her health and humanity.”
“After her July suicide attempt, I watched her begin to piece her life and spirit back together only to have that shattered by the disciplinary proceedings brought against her and then the unannounced initiation of her term of punishment last month,” Strangio wrote. “She has repeatedly been punished for trying to survive and now is being repeatedly punished for trying to die.”
Strangio added he worries about Manning’s “ability to keep fighting under these relentless abuses.”
Manning, arrested in 2010 as Bradley Manning, was convicted in 2013 in military court of leaking more than 700,000 secret military and State Department documents to WikiLeaks. Manning was an intelligence analyst in Iraq at the time.
In 2014, the ACLU sued the U.S. Department of Defense over its refusal to treat Manning’s gender dysphoria.
Manning staged a several-day hunger strike in September until the Army agreed to get her treatment for her gender dysphoria, including surgery recommended in April by her psychologist, the ACLU said.
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