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Chelsea Manning prepares defense against charges stemming from suicide attempt

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'I can't believe this is happening'

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Chelsea Manning Final High Rez

At Fort Leavenworth tomorrow, Chelsea Manning will face an administrative disciplinary board to defend herself against charges stemming from her suicide attempt earlier this year. Because of the closed nature of prison disciplinary hearings, she will face the board without legal assistance or guaranteed communication with the outside. If the board upholds the charges, the result could be immediate solitary confinement for Manning.

Manning’s representatives have posted a lengthy summary of the charges, including a number of scanned documents from the case.

The charges deal largely with the administrative disruption that resulted from Manning’s suicide attempt, including the mobilization of various prison resources in response. As one charge explains:

On 5 July 2016, at approximately 01:00, you attempted to commit suicide, resulting in the activation of the Force Cell Move Team. You are in violation of ACC Policy Letter 16, any action taken that causes the FCMT to be activated, even if it is not used, is a Category IV offense.

In statements after the incident, Manning blamed the suicide attempt on the prison’s refusal to provide her with gender reassignment surgery. She later launched a hunger strike in pursuit of treatment, and after four days, the military agreed to her demands. The administrative charges have remained pending throughout the process.

Speaking about the upcoming hearing on Twitter, Manning said simply, "I can’t believe this is happening."