Chelsea Manning, the transgender army private who’s spent the last three years in prison after being convicted of leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks in 2013, attempted suicide for a second time, according to her lawyers. Manning’s first suicide attempt occurred in July, and she been serving a 14-day sentence in solitary confinement as punishment.
Chase Strangio, the ACLU lawyer representing the 28-year-old Manning, confirmed on Twitter that Manning made her second suicide attempt on her first day of the sentence. The news was first reported by The New York Times, after Manning sent the news organization a four page document in which the suicide attempt was disclosed.
Manning, who was born Bradley Manning, has had a difficult time since beginning her 35-year sentence at Fort Leavenworth military prison in Leavenworth, Kansas. “Chelsea has endured unimaginable abuses in government custody since her arrest in 2010,” Strangio’s statement read. “From the prolonged solitary confinement at Quantico to the ongoing refusal to adequately treat her gender dysphoria to now the insistence on punishing her with more solitary confinement for her attempts to take her own life, she has faced demoralizing and destabilizing assaults on her health and humanity,” he added.
The former army intelligence officer’s conviction and incarceration has been the source of heavy controversy, after testimony revealed that she was suffering both mentally and emotionally while she was deployed in Iraq. At the time she sent the secret documents to WikiLeaks, Manning had not yet come out as transgender, a revelation that would have seen her discharged from the army. She has said in the past that while in prison she’s been the victim of bullying and abuse.
In September, Manning went on a hunger strike in protest of the military’s refusal to treat her gender dysphoria by allowing her to receive gender transition surgery. Eventually the military agreed to the surgery, though no timeline has been set. It’s unclear whether her latest suicide attempt will have an immediate impact on those plans.