Chelsea Manning Convicted Of Prison Rules Violations After The Most Ridiculous Charges Ever

It apparently wasn’t enough for the Army to convict Chelsea Manning of espionage charges. Harassment of the former soldier continues in prison, with a conviction on what may be the most ridiculous set of charges ever.

Manning, a transgender woman who was formerly known as Bradley Manning, was convicted two years ago for her part in the largest leak of classified information in American history. In 2010, she admitted giving over 700,000 documents to WikiLeaks.

The Associated Press reports that Manning was found guilty on August 18 of violating the rules at Fort Leavenworth prison, where she is serving a 35-year sentence. The charges against her were:

  • she had a copy of the Caitlyn Jenner issue of Vanity Fair and other reading material on LGBT issues
  • she had an expired tube of toothpaste
  • disorderly conduct for sweeping food onto the floor
  • disrespect

It looks like Manning’s espionage sentence wasn’t enough for some, which may explain the charges of violating prison contraband rules. The 35-year sentence was fairly light, considering she could have been sentenced to as much as 90 years. Prosecutors asked for a 60-year sentence, while Manning’s lawyers pushed for 25 years.

The punishment that was issued for the regulations violations was fairly light, too. Manning could have been sentenced to solitary confinement for an indefinite period, but instead was given 21 days of recreational restrictions, which means she will not be allowed to use the gym or library. She also will not be able to go outdoors.

Even though the restrictions could have been harsher, the new conviction might impact negatively on her overall sentence. Commondreams reports that Manning and her lawyers fear that being found guilty of these minor rules violations might reflect poorly on her in future parole hearings. It could also delay her move to a minimum security prison at some point in the future.

In advance of the Tuesday afternoon hearing, Manning’s supporters delivered petitions with over 100,000 signatures to the Army Liaison office in Washington. They were calling for the hearing to be open to the public and for the charges to be dropped. The hearing was held in private, the Army citing “privacy concerns.” Manning was also not represented by a lawyer during the proceedings and there were reports that in advance of the hearing she was denied access to the prison’s legal library.

This is just the latest in what some say is the U.S. Army’s campaign of harassment and intimidation against Chelsea Manning. Evan Greer, of the digital rights group, Fight For the Future, says:

“The U.S. government has a terrifying track record of using imprisonment and torture to silence free speech and dissenting voices. They’ve tortured Chelsea Manning before and now they’re threatening to do it again, without any semblance of due process.”

In 2013, Manning was found not guilty of the charge of “aiding the enemy,” which was the most serious charge against her and one that could have brought a sentence of life in prison. But many of the documents she released to WikiLeaks made the U.S. military and the U.S. government look bad, which is something that the self-proclaimed “greatest country in the world” just couldn’t have happen.

America, protecting your freedom by taking freedom away from those who want you to know the truth.

Featured image by torbakhopper/Flickr