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Chelsea Manning Facing Ridiculous Additional Charges for June Suicide Attempt

Back in June, Chelsea Manning, the former U.S. Army private who was convicted of leaking documents to WikiLeaks, attempted to end her own life while in prison at Leavenworth, Kansas. Now, it seems, the U.S. government is looking to punish Manning for her attempted suicide. According to The Daily Dot, they’ve handed down a series of charges including, but not limited to: “resisting the force cell move team;” “prohibited property;” and “conduct which threatens.”

Manning’s suicide attempt was leaked to the press last month by a U.S. official in a pretty serious breach of medical privacy. On top of that, Manning’s attorney at the ACLU, Chase Strangio, was unable to get in touch with her as she was being treated at a local medical facility because official with the U.S. Army refused to connect those calls. So, for the period of about a week, Manning was unable to get in contact with her support team, isolated and alone, while being treated for her attempted suicide.

As well, Manning’s treatment at Leavenworth has been something of a mess, as Strangio described in a statement. He writes:

At this time, Chelsea is not receiving adequate psychological counseling, as her course of treatment is constantly irregular and therefore less effective. Having uncertainty, from day to day, regarding what medical treatment she is even going to receive is stressful in itself, and is certainly not what someone recovering from a suicide attempt should be subjected to.

Chelsea is a trans woman being forced to serve out her sentence in an all male maximum security prison. Although Chelsea tries to stay focused on her writing and advocacy, being a woman in a all male prison is dehumanizing and exhausting emotionally. It is unnecessarily cruel to threaten her with punishment while in this very vulnerable state.

Manning has had to face down solitary confinement while fighting against some fairly trumped up charges such as having contraband (read: expired toothpaste and a copy of I Am Malala or Out Magazine) or not adhering to male grooming standards despite the fact that she is a woman. Again and again, the government seems dead set on not providing Manning with the treatment that she, even as a prisoner, deserves.

The addition of the above charges is nothing new within the U.S. military. There have been a few instances of service members being charged for attempting to end their own lives, according to a medical study. It’s not too much of a stretch to think that charging these people with crimes after attempting suicide only exacerbates a very serious problem. Moreover, the charges Manning faces threaten indefinite placement in solitary confinement, which would, again, only make a bad situation worse.

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Jessica Lachenal is a writer who doesn’t talk about herself a lot, so she isn’t quite sure how biographical info panels should work. But here we go anyway. She's the Weekend Editor for The Mary Sue, a Contributing Writer for The Bold Italic (, and a Staff Writer for Spinning Platters ( She's also been featured in Model View Culture and Frontiers LA magazine, and on Autostraddle. She hopes this has been as awkward for you as it has been for her.