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Wednesday 6 December 2023 Dublin: 8°C

Chelsea Manning attempted to take her own life, legal team confirms

Manning’s legal team say she will be kept under close observation for several weeks.

LAWYERS FOR THE soldier imprisoned in Kansas for sending classified information to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks have said that her hospitalisation last week was due to an attempted suicide.

Chelsea Manning’s legal team, in an email to media outlets, did not disclose details about the attempt early last Tuesday at the military prison at Fort Leavenworth, where the 28-year-old is serving a 35-year sentence.

But the lawyers, who said they spoke to Manning by telephone yesterday for the first time since the attempt, accused the US Army of a “gross breach of confidentiality” for publicly revealing last week that Manning had been hospitalised.

The Army at that time didn’t offer details.

Under close observation 

Manning’s lawyers added that the soldier “knows that people have questions about how she is doing” and will remain under close observation at the prison for several weeks.

“She would have preferred to keep her private medical information private, and instead focus on her recovery,” said her lawyers, who appeared unaware of Manning’s hospitalisation until reached by reporters the next day and who criticised leaks of the information to media outlets.

“The government’s gross breach of confidentiality in disclosing her personal health information to the media has created the very real concern that they may continue their unauthorised release of information about her publicly without warning,” they said.

Messages left with an Army spokesman, Wayne Hall, were not immediately returned.

“For us, hearing Chelsea’s voice after learning that she had attempted to take her life last week was incredibly emotional,” the statement from her legal team read.

She is someone who has fought so hard for so many issues we care about and we are honoured to fight for her freedom and medical care.

Espionage violations 

Manning, arrested as Bradley Manning, was convicted in 2013 in military court of six Espionage Act violations and 14 other offences for leaking more than 700,000 secret military and State Department documents, plus some battlefield video.

Manning, who was an intelligence analyst in Iraq at the time, later filed a transgender prisoner rights lawsuit.

Manning has appealed the criminal case, arguing that her sentence was “grossly unfair” and that her actions were those of a naive, troubled soldier who aimed to reveal the toll of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The appeal contends Manning’s disclosures harmed no one, but prosecutors have said the leaked material damaged US security and identified informants who helped US forces.

If you need to talk, contact:

  • Samaritans 116 123 or email
  • Console 1800 247 247 – (suicide prevention, self-harm, bereavement)
  • Aware 1800 80 48 48 (depression, anxiety)
  • Pieta House 01 601 0000 or email – (suicide, self-harm)
  • Teen-Line Ireland 1800 833 634 (for ages 13 to 19)
  • Childline 1800 66 66 66 (for under 18s)

Read: Chelsea Manning hospitalised after reports of attempted suicide >

Read: Chelsea Manning’s chances of parole hurt by magazine and toothpaste charges >

Associated Foreign Press
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