US soldier Chelsea Manning, imprisoned for passing classified files to WikiLeaks, has been accused of misconduct following a failed suicide attempt. The transgender soldier may now face indefinite solitary confinement.
The transgender army private, who was born male but revealed after being convicted of espionage that she identified as a woman, was notified by the US Army that she was under investigation, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.
Chelsea Manning, 28, received a letter from military officials on Thursday saying she was being investigated for "administrative offenses," including "conduct which threatens," related to a suicide attempt this month at the military prison at Fort Leavenworth.
"While Chelsea is suffering the darkest depression she has experienced since her arrest, the government is taking actions to punish her for that pain," ACLU staff lawyer Chase Strangio said in a statement.
US Army whistleblower fueled Wikileaks
Manning, a former intelligence analyst who enlisted as Bradley Manning, was sentenced in 2013 to 35 years in prison after a military court conviction for providing more than 700,000 documents, videos, diplomatic cables and battlefield accounts to WikiLeaks.
The case ranked as the biggest breach of classified materials in US history.
Among the files Manning leaked in 2010 was video from an Apache helicopter firing on suspected Iraqi insurgents in 2007, an attack that killed a dozen people, including two Reuters journalists.
The ACLU, which has acknowledged Manning's failed July 5 suicide attempt, said the Iraq veteran remains despondent over what the civil liberties group describes as the Army's continued denial of appropriate health care for her.
"The government has long been aware of Chelsea's distress associated with the denial of medical care related to her gender transition and yet delayed and denied the treatment recognized as necessary," Strangio said.
If convicted, Manning could face punishment that includes indefinite solitary confinement, reclassification into maximum security and an additional nine years in medium security, her lawyers said.
Manning has appealed her original sentence, arguing that her actions were those of a naive, troubled soldier who aimed to reveal the toll of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The appeal contends Manning's disclosures harmed no one physicially, but prosecutors have said the leaked material damaged US security and identified informants who helped US forces.
jar/msh (AP, Reuters)