Chelsea Manning may be Sent to Solitary Confinement

Chelsea Manning may be Sent to Solitary for Having Caitlin Jenner Vanity Fair Issue

Chelsea Manning, the transgender Army private convicted of leaking national security secrets, faces a hearing Tuesday for prison infractions that could result in solitary confinement.Manning, who was intelligence analyst Bradley Manning when arrested in 2010, is charged with disrespect of a prison officer and is accused having books and magazines including Vanity Fair and Cosmopolitan, among other offenses.

Her lawyers say she is being harassed.

The ACLU said in an email that Manning was charged with disrespect for requesting a lawyer when she felt she was being accused of misconduct. Other charges included disorderly conduct for sweeping food on the the floor, possessing an expired tube of toothpaste and possessing “prohibited property” — some of them documents pertaining to trans rights and government transparency including the Senate Intelligence Committee Report on Torture.

Prison documents also list several books and magazines, including a Cosmopolitan issue that included an interview with Manning and a Vanity Fair issue with Caitlyn Jenner on the cover.

“This kind of action has the potential to chill Chelsea’s speech and silence her altogether,” said ACLU lawyer Chase Strangio. “We are hopeful that the prison will respond by dismissing these charges and ensuring that she is not unfairly targeted based on her activism, her identity, or her pending lawsuit.”

The ACLU said prison documents confirm that all the charges are classified as “serious.” The ACLU said Manning could face solitary confinement indefinitely.

The closed hearing will be held at the Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., where Manning is serving her sentence. The barracks referred inquiries to Army spokeswoman Tatjana Christian, who released a statement providing few details about the case. A Disciplinary and Adjustment Board will decide the matter, the statement said.

“The Army remains committed to a fair and equitable process in the adjudication of administrative matters for all of its soldiers,” the statement said.

Manning, 27, was arrested in May 2010, accused of violating the Espionage Act after releasing to the Wikileaks website about 700,000 classified or sensitive military and diplomatic documents. Charges against Manning ultimately included aiding the enemy, which could have brought the death sentence. She pleaded guilty in February 2013 to 10 of the charges and months later was convicted of more charges but acquitted of aiding the enemy.

Her lawyers argued she had been disillusioned by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and believed the documents, including diplomatic cables and military reports, should be seen by the public. She was sentenced a few weeks later, and the next day her lawyers issued a press release announcing that Manning was a female and asking that she be referred to as Chelsea and with feminine pronouns.

Manning later sought hormone therapy and to be able to live as a woman. Transgender individuals were not allowed to serve in the U.S. military, and the Defense Department did not provide such treatment. The Army approved Manning’s treatment early this year.

Last month, Defense Secretary Ash Carter issued a memo to top military brass and civilians outlining his plan to protect transgender troops from being discharged and directing officials to develop a plan within six months to incorporate those troops into the ranks.

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