Chelsea Manning found guilty of ‘infractions’ over expired toothpaste
Jailed whistleblower Chelsea Manning has been founded guilty of ‘infractions’ over a tube of expired toothpaste – but she will not face indefinite solitary confinement.
Private Manning, who announced her transition to female in 2013, is currently imprisoned in Fort Leavenworth military prison after leaking details of classified documents via Wikileaks.
The whistleblower is currently appealing her 35-year prison sentence and suing for her right to transition behind bars. The US Military has continued to refer to the data analyst by her former gender and former name and until recently blocked gender treatment.
However, the trans prisoner – who uses her vast support network to help raise awareness of her case and even write articles from prison – this week faced trial for number of ‘infractions’ – including “medicine misuse” for owning a tube of expired toothpaste, and “possession of prohibited property” for reading material including a copy of Vanity Fair featuring Caitlyn Jenner on the cover.
She also faced charges for “disorderly conduct” and “disrespect”.
At the trial yesterday, Manning was found guilty of all four charges – but did not face the maximum penalty of indefinite solitary confinement, after media outcry.
She will now instead face 21 days of restrictions on recreation.
Though pleased Manning will not face solitary, her ACLU attorney Chase Strangio hit out at the trial.
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He said: “The fact that Chelsea had to face today’s four-hour Disciplinary Board without counsel, and will now be punished for daring to share her voice, sets a concerning precedent for the remaining decades of her incarceration.
“Not only does this punishment mean the immediate loss of library and recreation for Chelsea, but she also will carry these infractions through her parole and clemency process and will be held longer in the more restrictive custody where she is now incarcerated.
“No one should have to face the lingering threat of solitary confinement for reading and writing about the conditions we encounter in the world.
“Chelsea’s voice is critical to our public discourse about government accountability and trans justice, and we can only preserve it if we stay vigilant in our advocacy on her behalf.”
Campaigner Evan Greer of Fight for the Future told the Advocate: “People around the world are outraged that a courageous whistleblower like Chelsea Manning is imprisoned in the first place, so it’s no surprise that people spoke out in droves when the US government threatened her.
“More than 100,000 supporters signed a petition demanding no solitary confinement for Chelsea, and the pressure worked.
“It’s absurd that Chelsea was found guilty, and that she has to endure any additional punishment beyond being wrongly imprisoned, but now the US government knows that the world is watching their treatment of Chelsea closely.
“If they continue this unwarranted harassment of Chelsea, they risk losing all legitimacy in the eyes of millions.”