Chelsea Manning, who is serving a 35-year prison sentence over espionage charges linked to the WikiLeaks scandal, has attempted suicide for the second time. She was punished with a week of solitary confinement in late September for her attempt to kill herself in prison in July.
After that attempt, the former army intelligence analyst reportedly tried to commit suicide again on 4 October on the first night of her solitary confinement punishment at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. She now faces another hearing on this new suicide attempt as well as additional punishment.
Manning revealed the news about her second suicide attempt over the phone to a member of her volunteer support network, the New York Times reported. Chase Strangio, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer representing her confirmed the attempt.
In a four-page statement that she dictated to the member of the volunteer support group, she blamed prison authorities for sending her to solitary detention without any prior warning. She added that she was then placed on suicide watch and moved to a special observation unit, Alpha Tier.
She also mentioned a series of strange incidents that took place in the prison while she was in solitary detention. On the night of 10 October, four people impersonating guards attacked the prison and the guards stationed outside her cell. They also tried to prompt her to escape, her statement reportedly said. Things went back to normal the next morning, she added.
An Army spokesman denied the incidents ever took place. Manning's lawyer, Strangio declined to comment on the experiences shared by Manning, who was formerly known as Bradley Manning. Strangio said he is due to meet her soon amid growing concerns about her physical and mental health.
Both Manning and her lawyer have accused prison authorities of denying her necessary health care facilities and gender dysphoria treatment.
A member of Manning's support network said that the Army has told her they would hold another disciplinary hearing on the second attempted suicide and she could possibly face new punishment, the paper reported.
Manning has reportedly been removed from the special observation unit since her suicide attempt. She is now living with the general inmate population, and is allowed access to mail and telephone.
However, two members of her support network reportedly said that she complained to them about seeing those fake prison guards who attacked the prison until 27 October.
The Samaritans provides a free support service for those who need to talk to someone in the UK and Republic of Ireland. It can be contacted via Samaritans.org or by calling 116 123 (UK) or 116 123 (ROI), 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.