Chelsea Manning Reportedly Attempted Suicide in Jail Before Next Hearing, Lawyers Say

Activist Chelsea Manning, who has been in jail for contempt after refusing to testify in a federal prosecution of WikiLeaks, attempted to take her own life Wednesday. Manning has reportedly been taken to a hospital to recover.

Manning is scheduled to appear in court on Friday where a judge is expected to rule on a motion to have the contempt sanctions against her dropped.

"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," read a Wednesday statement obtained by Newsweek.

chelsea manning
Former U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning reportedly attempted suicide while jailed on Wednesday. Win McNamee/Getty

"Ms. Manning has previously indicated that she will not betray her principles, even at risk of grave harm to herself," the statement continued.

Newsweek reached out to LGBTQ prisoner advocacy group Black and Pink and the ACLU for comment but did not receive responses in time for publication.

Manning, a former Army intelligence analyst, sent over 700,000 classified files to WikiLeaks concerning the U.S. military presence in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Included in that information were descriptions of the alleged killing of civilians by the U.S. military. WikiLeaks released the information online.

Manning was sent to prison for espionage, theft of military property and aiding the enemy in 2013. In a statement released at the time, Manning said she sent the information to WikiLeaks "out of a love for my country."

"I understand that my actions violate the law," Manning said. "It was never my intent to hurt anyone. I only wanted to help people. When I chose to disclose classified information, I did so out of a love for my country and a sense of duty to others."

Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison, but a majority of her sentence was commuted by President Barack Obama as one of his last acts in office in 2017. However, Manning was incarcerated again after refusing to testify before a grand jury during its investigation into WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange.

Assange was arrested in London in 2019 after taking refuge in the Ecuadorean Embassy in an attempt to evade a warrant issued for his arrest in 2012. If found guilty, Assange could receive up to a year in prison and extradition to the U.S. where he was already indicted in 2019 for espionage.

Manning said that she disapproves of "the use of grand juries as tools to tear apart vulnerable communities" in a 2019 letter to Judge Anthony Trenga.

"I object to this grand jury in particular as an effort to frighten journalists and publishers, who serve a crucial public good," Manning's letter continued. "I have had these values since I was a child, and I've had years of confinement to reflect on them. For much of that time, I depended for survival on my values, my decisions, and my conscience. I will not abandon them now."

If you have thoughts of suicide, confidential help is available for free at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Call 1-800-273-8255. The line is available 24 hours every day.