Chelsea Manning attempted suicide for second time since July – lawyer
“After her July suicide attempt, I watched her to begin to piece her life and spirit back together, only to have that shattered by the disciplinary proceedings brought against her and then an unannounced initiation of her term of punishment last month,” Chase Strangio, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer representing Manning, said in a statement posted on his Twitter account.
Strangio has confirmed that Chelsea Manning, previously known as Bradley Manning, tried to commit suicide last month while in solitary confinement. That solitary stay was punishment for a prior suicide attempt in July.
“She asked me to confirm that,” Strangio said, according to the New York Times.
The newspaper was the first to unveil Manning’s attempt after receiving her statement from her volunteers at the Chelsea Manning Support Network. Its members have passed along Manning’s request, saying that she wanted her letter be sent to the paper this week.
Manning, who is currently barred from using mail, reportedly dictated her statement to one of the volunteers over the phone.
It is addressed to the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community Investigations Division and is dated October 17.
The four-page statement indicates that Manning attempted suicide on October 4, on the first night of her week in solitary detention. She was punished with 14 days in solitary confinement on September 23 for trying to kill herself in the summer.
The statement focuses on what Manning called “malicious activities” and “potential criminal actions” by intelligence community officials and personnel, which took place on October 10 and 11 and which she wanted investigated.
Manning described being placed on suicide watch and the transfer to a special observation unit, called Alpha Tier, where she continued to be held in solitary confinement.
On the night of October 10, Manning claimed four unknown intelligence community officials – one female and three males – “planned and executed an elaborated terrorist attack, prison breakout, kidnapping and hostage situation.”
She claims the four “attackers” posed as actual tier guards and tried to encourage her to escape, but she refused to cooperate. Instead, Manning said she tried to hide in the corner of her cell, where she could not be seen, to reach their reaction. She claims hearing “two men speaking in broken Arabic with a Saudi Arabian flair or accent.”
Manning said at one point she jumped out of her corner, yelling at the attackers: “Who are you, people? You are not correctional specialists…”
“I feared for my life. I thought that if I could not fight all three of them, I was going to die or be taken hostage,” she said.
However, as morning dawned a regular shift of guards familiar to Manning arrived, and “everything returned to normal, except that several correctional specialists were deep cleaning the entirety of Alpha tier with Pine Sol and bleach.”
The Army has rejected that events described by Manning ever took place, according to the Times.
Manning has spent five years in jail of a 35-year sentence at the US Army’s Fort Leavenworth prison in Kansas, for leaking thousands of sensitive military documents to WikiLeaks while working as an Army intelligence analyst.