Updated Mar 12, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Chelsea Manning recovering in hospital after suicide attempt in jail

Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning arrives at the Albert Bryan U.S federal courthouse May 16
Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning arrives at the Albert Bryan U.S federal courthouse, May 16, 2019. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

U.S. Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning is recovering in a Virginia hospital after attempting to take her own life, her lawyers said in a statement Wednesday.

Details: Manning is still due to appear on Friday for a scheduled hearing, her lawyers said. "Judge Anthony Trenga will rule on a motion to terminate the civil contempt sanctions stemming from her May 2019 refusal to give testimony before a grand jury investigating the publication of her 2010 disclosures," the statement added.

"In spite of those sanctions — which have so far included over a year of so-called 'coercive' incarceration and nearly half a million dollars in threatened fines — she remains unwavering in her refusal to participate in a secret grand jury process that she sees as highly susceptible to abuse. ... Ms. Manning has previously indicated that she will not betray her principles, even at risk of grave harm to herself."
— Manning's lawyers' statement
  • Manning was admitted to William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center in Alexandria before being moved to a nearby hospital in Virginia, her lawyer told Axios via email. She's expected to be taken back to the Alexandria jail once she's recovered enough.

The big picture: Former Army intelligence analyst Manning served seven years (2010–2017) in a military prison for leaking documents to WikiLeaks before President Obama commuted what was left of her 35-year sentence.

  • She spent two months in jail on a separate subpoena order before being released in May 2019 when the term of that grand jury lapsed.
  • Manning was jailed again days later on civil contempt charges for refusing to cooperate with a grand jury subpoena. She said at the time she'd rather remain in jail "forever" than testify before a grand jury on Wikileaks.

What they're saying: Her lawyers noted in Wednesday's statement that Manning said to the judge in a 2019 court letter that she objected to the grand jury because it's "an effort to frighten journalists and publishers, who serve a crucial public good."

  • "Her actions today evidence the strength of her convictions, as well as the profound harm she continues to suffer as a result of her 'civil' confinement — a coercive practice that the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, Nils Melzer, recently said violates international law," the statement said.

Go deeper: Chelsea Manning jailed again for refusing to testify

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

Editor's note: This article has been updated with more details on Manning's case and context.

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