Current Affairs

Trans whistleblower Chelsea Manning ‘glad to be alive’ after suicide attempt

Nick Duffy July 12, 2016
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Military whistleblower Chelsea Manning says she is “glad to be alive” after trying to take her own life.

Private Manning, who announced her transition to female in 2013, is currently imprisoned in Fort Leavenworth military prison after leaking details of classified government documents concerning alleged war crimes and rights abuses via WikiLeaks.

Manning has sued the US Army for her right to transition behind bars, and has also taken action against her “unjust” 35-year prison sentence – on the basis that her actions helped make public a large number of serious issues related to military practise.

The whistleblower was rushed to hospital last week amid reports of a suicide attempt, and her status has been unknown since.

But she was finally able to make contact with her legal team today.

In a message to the outside world, she said: “I am okay. I’m glad to be alive. Thank you all for your love <3 I will get through this.”

Chelsea Manning’s attorneys Chase Strangio, Vincent Ward and Nancy Hollander also released a joint statement.

They said: “After not connecting with Chelsea for over a week, we were relieved to speak with her this morning.

“Though she would have preferred to keep her private medical information private, and instead focus on her recovery, the government’s gross breach of confidentiality in disclosing her personal health information to the media has created the very real concern that they may continue their unauthorised release of information about her publicly without warning.

“Due to these circumstances, Chelsea Manning requested that we communicate with the media and her friends and supporters on her behalf.

The statement confirms: “Last week, Chelsea made a decision to end her life. Her attempt to take her own life was unsuccessful.

“She knows that people have questions about how she is doing and she wants everyone to know that she remains under close observation by the prison and expects to remain on this status for the next several weeks.

“For us, hearing Chelsea’s voice after learning that she had attempted to take her life last week was incredibly emotional. She is someone who has fought so hard for so many issues we care about and we are honored to fight for her freedom and medical care.”

Her appeal against her conviction, filed just last month, alleges that the 35-year sentence was “perhaps the most unjust sentence in the history of the military justice system” given the nature of her offence, which helped bring to light a number of serious abuses and powers.

It states: “No whistleblower in American history has been sentenced this harshly…  Manning disclosed the materials because under the circumstances she thought it was the right thing to do.”

“She believed the public had a right to know about the toll of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the loss of life, and the extent to which the government sought to hide embarrassing information of its wrongdoing.”

The appeal also contends that the Espionage Act that Manning is charged under is unconstitutional.

It states: “The government will argue the [Espionage] Act concerns national security, an important issue to be sure.

“But the military’s national security interests should not trump two of our Constitution’s most cherished rights, the right to due process and the right of free speech.”

The American Civil Liberties Union also filed a brief supporting Manning.

PinkNews has regularly reported on Manning, who previously had her access to PinkNews clippings restricted.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation warned that clippings of news coverage sent to Manning via the prison postal service, including a PinkNews report, had been seized by prison authorities.

If you have been affected by issues in this article, call the Samaritans on 116 123 or visit www.samaritans.org

Related topics: chelsea manning, manning, Trans, Transgender, US

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