WikiLeaks mole Manning briefly hospitalized amid suicide attempt reports

  • AFP, Washington
  • Updated: Jul 07, 2016 07:58 IST
A combination photo shows U.S. soldier Chelsea Manning, who was born male Bradley Manning but identifies as a woman, imprisoned for handing over classified files to pro-transparency site WikiLeaks. (REUTERS)

Imprisoned transgender soldier Chelsea Manning was briefly hospitalized this week, the US Army said Wednesday amid media reports the famous intelligence leaker had attempted suicide.

Manning’s legal team, however, was unable to contact their client to ascertain the circumstances surrounding her visit to the hospital.

Army spokesman Colonel Patrick Seiber told AFP that Manning had been taken to a local hospital in Kansas’s Fort Leavenworth area on Tuesday morning.

“She was returned to the disciplinary barracks yesterday morning,” Seiber said, without providing any information on Manning’s medical condition.

Celebrity news site cited an unnamed source saying Manning had tried to hang herself and was currently being monitored.

And CNN, citing an official who also spoke anonymously, said Manning was hospitalized after an apparent suicide attempt.

Manning’s lawyer Nancy Hollander reacted furiously to the apparent disclosure of medical information to the media, noting she’d had no word from the Army about Manning’s condition.

“We’re shocked and outraged that an official at Leavenworth contacted the press with private confidential medical information about Chelsea Manning, yet no one at the Army has given a shred of information to her legal team,” Hollander said in a statement.

The attorney said she had been due to call Manning on Tuesday only to be told by Army officials that the call “could not be connected.”

“The Army has told (Manning’s) lawyers that the earliest time that they will accommodate a call between her lawyers and Chelsea is Friday morning,” Hollander said.

“Her lawyers and friends who care deeply about her well-being... are profoundly distressed by the complete lack of official communication about Chelsea’s current situation,” she added.

Army officials did not immediately respond to a request for response on Hollander’s comments.

Originally called Bradley, Manning was convicted in August 2013 of espionage and other offenses after admitting to handing classified documents to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks.

After sentencing, Manning announced she identified as female and later obtained legal authorization to change her name and receive hormone therapy.

She remains, however, in a men’s military prison in Kansas, where she is appealing a 35-year sentence.

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