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Chelsea Manning Locked in Solitary Confinement, Supporters Say

Chelsea Manning jailed in solitary confinement, supporters say.
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A United Nations torture expert condemned the practice in 2010, citing the “severe mental pain and suffering” it can cause.

Supporters say that Chelsea Manning has been held in prolonged solitary confinement and have called for her immediate release from those conditions.

In a press statement published Saturday, a support group calling itself Chelsea Resists! writes that the soldier-turned-whistleblower has been living in conditions that amount to solitary confinement. Jailed after refusing to testify before a grand jury as part of an ongoing investigation into WikiLeaks, Manning is said to have spent 22 hours of every day for the past 17 days locked in her Alexandria, Va., jail cell, unable to speak to other prisoners or access books or other reading material. The William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center medical staff have not denied Manning her hormone medications or daily post-surgery treatment, the group says, as is often the case for incarcerated trans people.

Alexandria Sheriff Dana Lawhorne denies the group's claims of solitary confinement, telling the Associated Press that Manning has been placed in something called "administrative segregation," or "adseg." Chelsea Resists! maintains that the only difference between "administrative segregation" and "solitary confinement" is semantic.

"We condemn the solitary confinement that Chelsea Manning has been subjected to during her incarceration," writes Chelsea Resists! in its 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."

Juan Mendez, a United Nations expert on torture, condemned the use of solitary confinement in 2010 except in very exceptional circumstances, citing the "severe mental pain and suffering" it can cause. He called for an absolute prohibition on keeping prisoners in solitary confinement for 15 days or more. Manning has been living in such conditions for 17 days.

"We call upon the William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center to remove Chelsea from "Administrative Segregation" and these conditions which effectively constitute solitary confinement immediately," the statement continues.

Manning spoke out against her continued incarceration in a statement released March 8, the day of her jailing.

"Imprisoning me for my refusal to answer questions only subjects me to additional punishment for my repeatedly stated ethical objections to the grand jury system," the statement reads. "I will not participate in a secret process that I morally object to, particularly one that has been historically used to entrap and persecute activists for protected political speech."

RELATED | Chelsea Manning Says She Will Not Comply With Grand Jury

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