Chelsea Manning emerges from solitary confinement after suicide attempt

‘I’m OK,’ Manning tweeted, ending several days without communication while in solitary as punishment for having tried to take her own life in military prison

Chelsea Manning has emerged from seven days of solitary confinement as punishment for having tried to take her own life during a spell of despair related to her treatment as a transgender woman at the hands of her military jailers.

The army private, who is serving 35 years in the harshest sentence meted out to any source of an official government leak in modern history, announced her return to the general population of the military prison in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, in a tweet.

I'm back. I'm OK. I'm resting and trying to get back in the groove of things. #solitaryconfinement

— Chelsea Manning (@xychelsea) October 12, 2016

Manning’s re-emergence puts to an end several days of jitters among her supporters who were alarmed by the sudden lack of communication with the prisoner. That prompted one of her most prominent supporters, Michael Stipe of REM, to put out a video statement on Facebook asking “Where is Chelsea Manning?”

Manning said that she was put into solitary last Tuesday, less than 15 minutes after she was served with a written notice of her punishment for the July suicide attempt. “I received written notification of the findings on Tuesday afternoon and was then placed in solitary less than 15 minutes later,” she said.

She was taken down to a so-called “segregation” cell where she was held in isolation, despite the fact that she had already indicated that she intended to appeal against the punishment. She is now likely to go ahead with the appeal, which has to be filed within the next seven days, in the hope of erasing the infraction from her prison record.

Military authorities at Fort Leavenworth and the Pentagon failed to respond to numerous requests from the Guardian for information about Manning’s apparent disappearance and solitary confinement.

Holding human beings in isolated confined spaces is well known to exacerbate depression and other mental health conditions. It has been found to induce serious psychological side-effects such as paranoia and suicidal thoughts within a matter of a few days.

Mental health experts reacted with shock and anger at the decision of the US army to put someone who had survived a suicide attempt into solitary confinement – a response that risked reinforcing the behavior that it purported to punish.

The soldier’s support group @SaveManning expressed relief and said it was “nice to hear her voice”.

Chelsea is back in touch with friends and her lawyers. Nice to hear her voice. We are amazed, as always, at her resiliency :-)

— Chelsea Manning (@SaveManning) October 12, 2016

Manning, a former intelligence analyst in the US army in Iraq, leaked hundreds of thousands of warlogs and diplomatic cables, revealing the impact of modern warfare.


Ed Pilkington in New York

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Chelsea Manning faces solitary confinement and charges after suicide attempt
Serving 35 years for leaking secrets to WikiLeaks, she was being investigated for resisting guards, prohibited property and threatening conduct charges

Nicky Woolf in San Francisco

29, Jul, 2016 @6:29 AM

Article image
Experts decry solitary confinement for Chelsea Manning after suicide attempt
Studies show solitary confinement can increase the risk of suicide, leaving mental health professionals shocked at the US military’s decision

Ed Pilkington in New York

24, Sep, 2016 @11:00 AM

Article image
Chelsea Manning gets 14 days in solitary confinement for suicide attempt
‘I am feeling hurt. I am feeling lonely’ says Manning, who did not indicate whether she would appeal against the punishment after her sentencing

Jessica Glenza in New York

23, Sep, 2016 @12:53 PM

Chelsea Manning may face solitary confinement for having Jenner Vanity Fair issue
Expired tube of toothpaste and Malala Yousafzai memoir also among cell items that led to US soldier being allegedly charged with four violations of custody rules, lawyers say

Ed Pilkington in New York

12, Aug, 2015 @10:48 PM

Article image
Former Black Panther wins settlement and reprieve from solitary confinement
The $99,000 settlement could make it more difficult for Pennsylvania to argue against the release from solitary of prisoners who have been held even longer

12, Jul, 2016 @11:00 AM

Article image
Chelsea Manning: supporters demand release from solitary confinement
Manning held in isolation for 22 hours a day after being jailed for refusing to testify to grand jury investigating WikiLeaks

Jamiles Lartey in New Orleans

24, Mar, 2019 @3:42 PM

Article image
Chelsea Manning readies for disciplinary hearing over suicide attempt
US private is charged with interfering with the ‘good order’ of the military prison after she tried to kill herself, which could lead to indefinite solitary confinement

Ed Pilkington in New York

21, Sep, 2016 @10:15 PM

Article image
Chelsea Manning confirms she was hospitalized over suicide attempt
Manning ends days of uncertainty about her condition as lawyers express dismay over military prison’s ‘gross breach of confidentiality’ after news had been leaked

Ed Pilkington in New York

11, Jul, 2016 @10:29 PM

Article image
Don't punish Chelsea Manning – release her | Trevor Timm
The incarcerated whistleblower is on a hunger strike to protest her treatment. It’s time to heed her pleas for help

Trevor Timm

13, Sep, 2016 @4:10 PM

Article image
Obama administration urges states to curb use of solitary confinement
US president has introduced federal-level reforms, but without getting states to do likewise their impact will be minimal

Ed Pilkington in New York

28, Apr, 2016 @11:00 AM