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Chelsea Manning Faces Solitary for Expired Toothpaste and Reading The Advocate

Chelsea Manning Faces Solitary for Expired Toothpaste and Reading The Advocate

Chelsea Manning, convicted of espionage in 2013 for leaking military documents to the website WikiLeaks, is facing punishment that could include "indefinite solitary confinement" for breaking prison rules — including having a copy of The Advocate.

Manning is accused of brushing food onto the floor during meal time, disrespect of an officer, and "medicine misuse" for possessing a tube of expired toothpaste, according to her attorney. Manning also had prohibited reading material, including a copy of Caitlyn Jenner's Vanity Fair cover and copies of The Advocate and Out magazines.

“Chelsea is at risk of losing various support networks simply because she had an expired tube of toothpaste, the Vanity Fair magazine that featured Caitlyn Jenner and requested a lawyer when she felt she was being accused of misconduct,” American Civil Liberties Union attorney Chase Strangio told BuzzFeed News.

Other literature confiscated by prison officials includes Transgender Studies Quarterly, a copy of Cosmopolitan with an interview of Manning, Transgender Studies Quarterly, the book Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy — The Many Faces of Anonymous, the book I Am Malala, five books by Robert Dorkin, legal documents including the Senate Torture Report, the book Hidden Qualities That Make Us Influential, and A Safe Girl to Love — a novel about transgender issues.

Manning, now serving a 35-year sentence in a military prison, will face an administrative hearing on the charges Tuesday. She has asked that the hearing be open to the public, but military officials have denied the request. So far officials have refused to comment on the charges.

According to supporters and her attorneys, Manning's charges stem from an incident in the prison's mess hall after she brushed food onto the floor. The official charging document posted on the "Free Chelsea" website gives more details about the incident that she would be disciplined for:

"On 2 July 2015, during dinner chow, inmate Manning was approached by [a correctional specialist] to inform inmate Manning to be aware of her surroundings because [the correctional specialist] was almost hit with some food inmate Manning swept off the table. [The correctional specialist] informed inmate Manning to stand by at 'Commons 1' once chow was completed so [the correctional specialist] could talk to inmate Manning and explain what she had done wrong while at 'Commons 1.' [The correctional specialist] attempted to talk to inmate Manning, but she continued to cut [the correctional specialist] off by stating words to the effect of 'you are accusing me,' 'this interview is over,' and 'I want my lawyer.' [The correctional specialist] ended the conversation and inmate Manning left to go get medication."

Further details from the document include the specific charges against her.

  • Charge 1: Disrespect - Specification: On 2 July 2015, during dinner chow, you were approached by [a correctional specialist] in regards to your actions inside the dining facility. You conducted yourself in a contemptuous manner by being disrespectful to the cadre present.
  • Charge 2: Disorderly Conduct - Specification: On 2 July 2015, during dinner chow, you were observed by [a correctional specialist] sweeping food onto the floor.
  • Charge 3: Prohibited Property - Specification: On 9 July 2015, while under administrative segregation pending investigation, your cell was inspected and prohibited property was found in your possession. (Note: Books and magazines)
  • Charge 4: Medicine Misuse - Specification: On 9 July 2015, while under administrative segregation pending investigation, your cell was inspected and a tube of anti-cavity toothpaste may-keep-in-cell, was found in your possession past its expiration date of 9 April 2015.

The maximum charge for these offenses is indefinite solitary confinement. 

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