Chelsea Manning Recovering After Attempting Suicide In Jail

In November, a United Nations Special Rapporteur compared the whistleblower's current confinement to torture.
chelsea manning suicide prison
Britta Pedersen/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

Want the best of VICE News straight to your inbox? Sign up here.

Whistleblower and activist Chelsea Manning is in the hospital recovering from a suicide attempt in prison this week, her lawyers told Gizmodo on Wednesday night.

Manning is still scheduled to appear before U.S. District Judge Anthony Trenga on Friday, when Trenga will rule on a motion to dismiss the contempt charge that has kept her in prison for more than a year.


Manning is in prison because of her refusal to testify before a federal grand jury investigation into WikiLeaks. She has also been fined over $250,000 for her refusal to testify.

“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,” Manning’s lawyers said in a statement.

READ: Obama freed Chelsea Manning three years ago. Why is she still in jail?

Manning is a former Army intelligence officer whose 2013 military conviction for leaking documents related to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan was commuted by former President Barack Obama shortly before he left office in 2017.

Prior to her release, Manning attempted suicide twice in the span of four months in 2016. After her first attempt, she was placed in solitary confinement for two weeks.

A United Nations Special Rapporteur compared her latest confinement to torture, writing in a November 2019 letter that “such deprivation of liberty does not constitute a circumscribed sanction for a specific offense, but an open-ended, progressively severe measure of coercion fulfilling all the constitutive elements of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

Last month, Manning’s lawyers filed a motion for her release, citing a personality assessment from a University of Virginia psychologist that suggested that Manning’s personality renders her incoercible.

"I object to the use of grand juries as tools to tear apart vulnerable communities," Manning wrote in a May 2019 letter to Trenga. "I object to this grand jury in particular as an effort to frighten journalists and publishers, who serve a crucial public good. I have had these values since I was a child, and I've had years of confinement to reflect on them… I will not abandon them now."

Cover: The American whistleblower Chelsea Manning speaking at the internet conference re:publica, 02 May 2018, Germany, Berlin. (Britta Pedersen/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images)