Chelsea Manning. (U.S. Army / AP)
Whistleblower Chelsea Manning will appear before a before a U.S. army disciplinary board on Thursday to answer charges of interfering with the “good order” of the prison in which she is held after trying to kill herself—and she could be place ed in solitary confinement as a result.
Manning’s lawyer at the ACLU, Chase Strangio, denounced the army’s handling of Manning’s suicide attempt.
“You cannot possibly have any consideration for someone’s survival or wellbeing if the response to a suicide attempt is to find the most serious infraction to charge them with,” he said.
Ed Pilkington reports at The Guardian:
Manning, who is serving 35 years at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas for leaking a vast trove of secret documents on the US war effort in Iraq and Afghanistan, required hospital treatment after she attempted to kill herself in July. The military authorities generated outrage by responding to the army private’s act of despair by charging her with a number of serious disciplinary counts.
On Wednesday, the campaigning group Fight for the Future posted a copy of the military charge sheet that had been issued against the soldier. It showed that she has been slapped with two category-four counts – among the most serious available – both of which carry a possible sentence of indefinite solitary confinement.
One of those counts said that by attempting suicide Manning had caused the “activation of the Force Cell Move Team” – the disciplinary crew of prison officers who are deployed forcefully to remove inmates from their cells. Yet in accompanying documents also posted by the group, the official report makes clear that Manning did not do anything to resist the force cell move team and she went with them quietly.
The soldier will have to attend Thursday’s disciplinary hearing on her own, without legal representation, in accordance with disciplinary rules.
In The Guardian in Tuesday, Manning described the little opportunity she was given to prepare to meet with the board.
For the past week, I have been busy preparing for my disciplinary board. This administrative board has the power to sentence me for indefinite solitary confinement. Preparing to defend yourself for a disciplinary board is time consuming. It takes time to research, collect evidence, and organize a defense. The process is rather stressful. I am facing this alone. I am not allowed to have a lawyer or anyone else with me.
Last week I was escorted to view the evidence before the board. There are now nearly 100 pages. I do not have easy access. I do not have a copy. I could only see it for an hour. Looking through the evidence and taking notes in a hurried manner was very stressful.
—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly