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Chelsea Manning attempted suicide in Virginia jail, attorneys say

Former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning arrives at the federal courthouse in Alexandria, Va., on May 16, 2019.

CLIFF OWEN/AP

By CLARENCE WILLIAMS | The Washington Post | Published: March 12, 2020

Former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning attempted suicide inside an Alexandria, Va., jail Wednesday and was hospitalized just days before a federal judge is scheduled to hear a motion to release her from custody, according to her attorneys.

Jail officials responded to an incident involving Manning at 12:11 p.m. at the Alexandria Adult Detention Center, according to a statement released by Alexandria Sheriff Dana Lawhorne.

"It was handled appropriately by our professional staff and Ms. Manning is safe," Lawhorne's statement said.

Manning, who leaked hundreds of thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks in 2010, has been held for about a year for refusing to testify to a federal grand jury investigating the anti-secrecy website.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is charged in Alexandria federal court with violating the Espionage Act and accused of helping Manning expose secret war logs and diplomatic cables. He is fighting extradition from London.

"Ms. Manning has previously indicated that she will not betray her principles, even at risk of grave harm to herself," her legal team said in a statement Wednesday.

"Her actions today evidence the strength of her convictions, as well as the profound harm she continues to suffer as a result of her 'civil' confinement."

No other information could be immediately learned about the incident, which was first reported by Gizmodo.

Manning petitioned the court in February for release and in a letter to Judge Anthony Trenga called the grand jury process political and selectively enforced. A hearing is scheduled Friday, her attorneys said.

"The Attorney General was in contempt of a congressional subpoena but faced no consequences," Manning wrote to Trenga. "The President has been instructing his associates not to comply with grand jury subpoenas and witness subpoenas for at least two years, and has even fired people for their compliance with subpoenas. It is clear that the rules are different for different people."

Manning also has been ordered to pay a $1,000 daily fine imposed by the judge and can be held in civil contempt for up to 18 months.

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