- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 5, 2016

Incarcerated WikiLeaks source Chelsea Manning tried to kill herself last month while in solitary confinement at a military prison for a previous suicide attempt, her lawyers said Friday.

Manning, a former Army intelligence analyst, disclosed the attempt in a statement dictated over the phone to a supporter that was shared by the New York Times on Friday and verified by two of her attorneys.

The 28-year-old soldier tried to take her life on Oct. 4, according to the statement, the same day she began serving a week-long sentence in solitary confinement handed down as punishment for attempting suicide in July. She was placed on suicide watch after the Oct. 4 attempt, and a week later was transferred to medical observation area, the supporter said.

The Army has informed Manning that it will hold another disciplinary hearing as a result of the soldier’s most recent attempt, a member of her support network told The New York Times.

Chase Strangio, an American Civil Liberties Union attorney who represents Manning, told the newspaper he’ll visit his client later this month “due to continuous concerns that she is not getting the health care she needs.”

“I worry about the sustainability of her current conditions and her ability to keep fighting under these relentless abuses,” he said in a statement.

“After her July suicide attempt, I watched her begin to piece her life and spirit back together only to have that shattered by the disciplinary proceedings brought against her and then the unannounced initiation of her term of punishment last month,” Mr. Strangio wrote. “She has repeatedly been punished for trying to survive and now is being repeatedly punished for trying to die.”

An Army spokesman told The Times that privacy rules precluded him from commenting on the soldier’s latest attempt or any subsequent reaction.

Manning began serving a 35-year sentence inside the disciplinary barracks at Fort Leavenworth in 2013 after being convicted of espionage and other charges related to her role with the antisecrecy website WikiLeaks.

While deployed in Iraq, Manning used Army computers to acquire hundreds of thousands of documents supplied to WikiLeaks for publication. She admittedly took State Department diplomatic cables, war logs from Iraq and Afghanistan and other files published by the website in 2010, including video footage fro a U.S. helicopter that showed two Reuters journalists being killed.

Previously known as Bradley Manning, the soldier came out as transgender in 2013 and legally changed her name to Chelsea while behind bars. She sued the Department of Defense in an effort to receive treatment for gender dysphoria, “the medical diagnosis given to individuals whose gender identity — their innate sense of being male or female — differs from the sex they were assigned at birth, causing clinically significant distress,” according to the lawsuit, and the Pentagon has since allowed the soldier to receive hormone therapy and seek out gender-reassignment surgery while serving her sentence.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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