Chelsea Manning attempted suicide shortly after beginning her tribunal-ordered week in solitary confinement, according to a new report in The New York Times. The whistleblower confirmed to the Times that the attempt took place on October 4th, just twelve days after Manning was sentenced to solitary confinement over charges relating to an earlier suicide attempt in July. According to Manning’s defense team, the Army plans to hold a second disciplinary hearing over the October attempt, and she may face additional time in solitary confinement as a result.
Manning’s statement, also published by the Times, also alleges bizarre activity by prison officials in the days following the sentence, including gunmen attacking guards and a staged prison escape. The prison has denied the allegations, and the statement may be the product of intense emotional stress.
A number of groups have criticized the use of solitary confinement as a violation of the constitutions prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment, citing lasting mental and physical damage in prisoners confined in solitary for long periods of time.