Chelsea Manning, the transgender woman currently serving 35 years in military prison for leaking thousands of classified documents to the website WikiLeaks, has been sentenced to 14 days of solitary confinement for the supposed crime of attempting to take her own life in July.
Both Manning’s Twitter feed and her attorney Chase Strangio, tweeted news of her conviction on Friday morning.
On their website, the advocacy group Fight for the Future explained that Manning’s conviction stemmed from both her suicide attempt, as well as for being in possession of “Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy,” author Gabriella Coleman’s study of the Anonymous hacktivist network, which was described in the charges against Manning as “an unmarked book” (one which had not been pre-approved by authorities).
In response to the conviction, Manning released a statement explaining the circumstances of her punishment, and thanking her advocates for their support.
My three member disciplinary board took place today.
I presented evidence and was allowed to question witnesses through the board president. The hearing lasted four hours. There was a break for lunch.
I waited nervously for the board to vote. I received the decision after 30 minutes.
I was acquitted of the “Resisting The Force Cell Move Team” charge.
I was found guilty of the “Conduct Which Threatens” charge. This charge was for the suicide attempt.
I was found guilty of the “Prohibited Property” charge, which was for an unmarked copy of “Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy,” by Gabriella Coleman.
My punishment is 14 days in solitary confinement. 7 of those days are “suspended.” If I get in trouble in the next six months, those seven days will come back.
The term for this status is “disciplinary segregation.”
There is no set date set for this to start. After I receive the formal board results in writing, I have 15 days to appeal. I expect to get them in the next few days.
I am feeling hurt. I am feeling lonely. I am embarrassed by the decision. I don’t know how to explain it.
I am touched by your warm messages of love and support. This comforts me in my time of need
Manning’s 14-day sentence is lighter than what some feared would be an indefinite stretch of solitary confinement after her July suicide attempt. In August, supporters delivered petitions containing over 100,000 names to Secretary of the Army Eric Fanning, demanding “adequate and humane treatment for both [Manning’s] gender dysphoria and her suicide attempt.” Manning had previously stated that lack of access to appropriate care for her gender dysphoria was a contributing factor in decision to end her life.
On September 9, Manning began a hunger strike to protest her prison conditions. She ended it five days later, after the military announced it would grant her access to gender transition surgery.
“I am unendingly relieved that the military is finally doing the right thing,” Manning said in a statement at the time. “I applaud them for that. This is all that I wanted—for them to let me be me.”
After Manning sentence was announced on Friday, her attorney applauded his client’s perseverance, and urged people to continue their support.
According to Fight for the Future, Manning will receive official, written notification of her sentence, after which she has 15 days to make an appeal.