Culture

Chelsea Manning Begins A Hunger Strike In Prison: ‘I Need Help. I’m Not Getting Any’

Getty Image / Wikimedia / Alicia Neal

The latest chapter in Chelsea Manning’s story follows a decision the whistleblower and current inmate is making on her own. Currently serving 35 years in prison after being convicted for six counts of espionage, Manning announced her identity as a woman soon after being sentenced and has sought assistance with gender dysphoria from that point on. Her difficulty in attaining this help from prison officials and U.S. government reportedly led to a recent suicide attempt and has now led to Manning protesting her treatment via a hunger strike.

In a statement released via Fight For The Future, Manning details her situation to this point and highlights how she feels she has been mistreated while incarcerated:

“I need help. I am not getting any. I have asked for help time and time again for six years and through five separate confinement locations. My request has only been ignored, delayed, mocked, given trinkets and lip service by the prison, the military, and this administration.”

“I need help. I needed help earlier this year. I was driven to suicide by the lack of care for my gender dysphoria that I have been desperate for. I didn’t get any. I still haven’t gotten any.”

Manning cites her reported suicide attempt within the statement and is also facing punishment for the alleged incident that includes “indefinite solitary confinement” and extended prison time. All of this underlines Manning’s reasoning for committing to a hunger strike according to the statement:

“I am no longer asking. Now, I am demanding. As of 12:01 am Central Daylight Time on September 9, 2016, and until I am given minimum standards of dignity, respect, and humanity, I shall—refuse to voluntarily cut or shorten my hair in any way; consume any food or drink voluntarily, except for water and currently prescribed medications; and comply with all rules, regulations, laws, and orders that are not related to the two things I have mentioned.”

“This is a peaceful act. I intend to keep it as peaceful and non-violent, on my end, as possible. Any physical harm that should come to me at the hands of military or civilian staff will be unnecessary and vindictive. I will not physically resist or in any way harm another person. I have also submitted a “do not resuscitate” letter that is effective immediately. This shall include any attempts to forcibly cut or shorten my hair or to forcibly feed me by any medical or pseudo-medical means.“

Manning concludes by saying she will continue until her “permanent incapacitation or death” and plans for this to last a long time. Fox News reached out to the Army who claimed they were looking into the situation.

(Via The Intercept / The Verge)

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