United States: Lawyers kept in dark about reported Chelsea Manning suicide attempt

July 10, 2016

US soldier Chelsea Manning, jailed for handing over classified files to pro-transparency site WikiLeaks, was hospitalised, her attorney said on July 6. The comment came after media reports that Manning had attempted suicide.

One of Manning's attorneys, Nancy Hollander, said she was outraged over the release of her client's confidential medical information to the media.

“We're shocked and outraged that an official at Leavenworth contacted the press with private confidential medical information about Chelsea Manning yet no one at the Army has given a shred of information to her legal team,” Hollander said.

The army confirmed Manning, 28, a transgender activist, had been released back into custody from the hospital, American Civil Liberties Union Attorney Chase Strangio said. Manning's medical condition was not released.

“Reports of Chelsea's suicide attempt are unconfirmed,” Strangio wrote on Twitter. “We just know that she was taken to the hospital and are trying to learn more.”

Manning was taken to a hospital near the US Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, on July 5, US Army spokesman Colonel Patrick Seiber said.

Manning, a former intelligence analyst in Iraq, is serving a 35-year sentence after a 2013 military court conviction for providing more than 700,000 documents, videos, diplomatic cables and battlefield accounts to WikiLeaks. It was the biggest breach of classified materials in US history.

Among the files that Manning turned over to WikiLeaks in 2010 was a gunsight video of a US Apache helicopter firing at suspected Iraqi insurgents in 2007. A dozen people were killed, including two Reuters news staff.

Manning appealed to an Army court to overturn her court-martial conviction in May. Her lawyers contend she was held in unlawful pretrial detention for almost a year.

The UN special rapporteur on torture said in 2012 that Manning was subjected to cruel and inhumane treatment by the US military after a two-year investigation.

Rapporteur Juan Mendez said that “imposing seriously punitive conditions of detention on someone who has not been found guilty of any crime is a violation of his right to physical and psychological integrity as well as of his presumption of innocence”.

[Abridged from TeleSUR English.]

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