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Chelsea Manning, the former military intelligence officer who leaked a series of diplomatic wires to WikiLeaks, attempted suicide in prison on Wednesday, her lawyers reveal. Manning’s legal team, led by Moira Meltzer-Cohen, told The Daily Beast that Manning was taken to hospital and is currently recovering from the attempt.
The WikiLeaks leaker was previously convicted by court martial to 35 years in prison in July 2013 for espionage and other offences for leaking hundreds of thousands of classified and other sensitive documents to Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks organization, which published the materials on the Internet, including highly classified embassy cables that threw American diplomacy into disarray. President Obama later commuted her sentence, releasing her in 2017.
Manning has been repeatedly classed as a suicide risk during her previous stays in prison, making two previous attempts in 2016, and once more in 2018, when she tweeted a picture of herself standing on the ledge of a building.
She is currently in federal custody for her refusal to cooperate with the Department of Justice. The former army private refused to testify before a grand jury in a case involving WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange. Presiding over the case, Judge Claude Hilton of the U.S. District Court in Eastern Virginia ordered Manning into custody until she either changes her mind or the grand jury finishes without her.
Manning reportedly objects to the secrecy of the grand jury process—a claim her legal team reiterated in its latest statement to the press.
“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,” the statement read.
Further complications notwithstanding, Manning is still set to appear in court for a Friday hearing, where a federal judge is expected to rule on a motion filed by her legal team to end civil contempt sanctions against her.