Chelsea Manning, who was sent back to prison in early March after refusing to testify in front of a grand jury, has been in solitary confinement the entire time, a support group says.
The group, Chelsea Resists!, said Saturday that Manning had been held in solitary confinement for 22 hours a day since she was imprisoned at William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center in Alexandria, Virginia, on March 8. The center calls it “administrative segregation,” or “adseg,” “a term designed to sound less cruel than ‘solitary confinement,'” the group said in a statement.
“Chelsea can’t be out of her cell while any other prisoners are out, so she cannot talk to other people, or visit the law library, and has no access to books or reading material. She has not been outside for 16 days. She is permitted to make phone calls and move about outside her cell between 1 and 3 a.m.,” the statement reads.
“The jail says keeping ‘high-profile’ prisoners in adseg is policy for the protection of all prisoners, but there is no reason to believe jail officials view Chelsea as either a target or a risk. If Truesdale wants to prioritize Chelsea’s health and welfare, as they consistently claim, then they should make sure she is able to have contact with other people in the jail.”
Manning developed a bacterial infection within her first week in custody, the group said, but it has since been resolved with medication.
During a brief 45-minute “social visit,” she also allegedly had such a negative reaction to the stimuli that she threw up.
“Chelsea is a principled person, and she has made clear that while this kind of treatment will harm her, and will almost certainly leave lasting scars, it will never make her change her mind about cooperating with the grand jury,” Chelsea Resists! said in the statement.
“It bears repeating that while solitary confinement should not be used for anyone, it is especially immoral to place Chelsea in solitary, when she has not been accused of, charged with, nor convicted of any new crime.”
Manning, a former Army intelligence analyst, was found in contempt when she refused to testify about classified U.S. documents she sent in 2010 to WikiLeaks, part of a larger, broader investigation into founder Julian Assange.
Alexandria Sheriff Dana Lawhorne told the Associated Press that the group’s accusations “are not accurate or fair,” and that Manning has access to visits, books and recreation.
Manning previously served about four years behind bars for leaking classified information, including a video of an American helicopter shooting at Iraqi citizens, to WikiLeaks; she was sentenced to 35 years in prison but had her sentence commuted by former President Obama in January 2017.
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