Decrying new charges faced by Chelsea Manning related to her July suicide attempt as "sadistic and outrageous," supporters delivered more than 115,000 petition signatures to the Secretary of the Army Eric Fanning on Wednesday calling for any additional punishment to be dropped.
As Common Dreams reported, army officials recently informed the imprisoned whistleblower that she is being investigated for new charges related to her July 5th attempt to take her own life. If convicted of these "administrative offenses"—which include "resisting the force cell move team," "conduct which threatens," and "prohibited property"—she could be placed in indefinite solitary confinement for the remainder of her decades-long sentence or lose access to the phone and the law library at the Fort Leavenworth, Kansas military prison.
This comes on top of existing allegations that Manning, a transgender woman, has been denied healthcare and other rights while serving out her sentence in a male prison.
"It seems like the government is doing everything in their power to make her physical and mental condition worsen," Manning's American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) attorney Chase Strangio said in a call with reporters on Wednesday.
"No harm has resulted from Chelsea Manning's disclosures," added Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg on the same call. "Not giving her the proper medical treatment and then adding on these charges for her suicide attempt would seem designed to break her down as a human being. These charges appear to me to be sadistic and outrageous."
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The 115,000 petition signatures came from petitions launched by grassroots activist groups supporting Manning: Fight for the Future, Demand Progress, RootsAction, Bill of Rights Defense Committee, and Care2.
As Kevin Gosztola reports at Shadowproof:
It is unclear what will happen next, but it will more than likely follow a pattern similar to what Manning faced last year, when she was punished for having LGBTQ literature and expired toothpaste.
The Army will provide a more detailed charge sheet. A hearing will be scheduled, where Manning will appear. She will not be permitted to have legal counsel with her. There she will learn what specific consequences she will face. But she will not be court-martialed.
"Adding additional punishment on top of Chelsea Manning's already unjust sentence, and threatening her with indefinite solitary confinement for attempting to take her own life, is an egregious miscarriage of justice," Kate Kizer, campaigner at Demand Progress, said on Wednesday. "The government's inhumane reaction to Ms. Manning's attempted suicide is part of an ongoing pattern of mistreatment that appears to be an attempt to silence Chelsea's important voice."