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ACLU Threatens Lawsuit Over Violations of Chelsea Manning's Rights

Rights group, lawyer give Sept. 4 deadline for Manning's Gender Dysphoria to be treated

"It is cruel and unusual punishment to withhold from Ms. Manning the care that the military’s own doctors have deemed medically necessary," stated the ACLU's Chase Strangio. (Photo:  Vertigogen)

The medical needs and therefore constitutional rights of Chelsea Manning continue to be ignored during her incarceration, a fact that has prompted the threat of a lawsuit by her lawyer and the American Civil Liberties Union.

Manning is currently serving a 35-year sentence at Ft. Leavenworth for releasing a trove of government and military documents, including the infamous Collateral Murder video, to WikiLeaks.

"Despite having received at least four diagnoses of Gender Dysphoria, Ms. Manning has received no treatment," the ACLU and Manning's lawyer, David Coombs, write in a letter dated Monday and sent to officials at Ft. Leavenworth as well as Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. "Specifically, Ms. Manning's requests for hormone therapy and clothing and grooming standards consistent with her female gender, have all been ignored," the letter continues.

"The Army's failure to comply with the treatment recommendations and protocols for Ms. Manning's Gender Dypshoria violates her well-established constitutional right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment."


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In the letter, the ACLU and Coombs issue a Sept. 4 deadline for a response indicating that Manning's treatment would be addressed; otherwise, her lawyers write that they will "pursue litigation to vindicate her constitutional rights."

“The continued failure to provide Ms. Manning with this treatment is inconsistent with well-established medical protocols and basic constitutional principles,” Chase Strangio, staff attorney with the ACLU’s Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Project, said in a media statement.

“Our constitution requires that the government provide medically necessary care to the individuals it holds in its custody. It is cruel and unusual punishment to withhold from Ms. Manning the care that the military’s own doctors have deemed medically necessary. The Army is withholding her care for political reasons, which is simply not permitted by our Constitution,” Strangio stated.

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