LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (AP) — The transgender soldier imprisoned in Kansas for sending classified information to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks now faces possible punishment for offenses stemming from a suicide attempt, a civil rights group said Thursday.
The American Civil Liberties Union said in a statement that Chelsea Manning, 28, received a document from Army officials Thursday saying she’s being investigated for “administrative offenses,” including “conduct which threatens,” related to her July 5 suicide attempt at the military prison at Fort Leavenworth, where she’s serving a 35-year sentence.
Manning’s lawyers have not detailed how she tried to kill herself.
It’s also unclear how the alleged offenses under investigation by the Army relate to the suicide attempt. An Army spokesman didn’t immediately respond to an email Thursday seeking comment.
The ACLU said if Manning is convicted of the offenses, she could be placed in indefinite solitary confinement.
“It is deeply troubling that Chelsea is now being subjected to an investigation and possible punishment for her attempt to take her life,” ACLU staff attorney Chase Strangio said in the statement. “The government has long been aware of Chelsea’s distress associated with the denial of medical care related to her gender transition and yet delayed and denied the treatment recognized as necessary.”
The ACLU said it hopes the investigation ends immediately and Manning is given “the health care that she needs to recover.”
Manning, arrested as Bradley Manning, was convicted in 2013 in military court of six Espionage Act violations and 14 other offenses 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 U.S. security and identified informants who helped U.S. forces.
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