Whistleblower Chelsea Manning has allegedly been denied access to a prison legal library, days before she will defend herself against charges including possessing an expired tube of toothpaste and unapproved reading materials, for which she could face indefinite solitary confinement.
Manning, who is serving a 35-year prison term for passing hundreds of thousands of classified US military documents to the Wikileaks website, has tweeted that prison staff are not allowing her access to the law library at Fort Levenworth.
“Prison staff are now denying me access to the law library @ scheduled times—w/only 2 days until my board,” she wrote.
The 25-year-old, who is a trans woman, stands accused of keeping an expired tube of toothpaste, having unauthorised reading material including an issue of Vanity Fair featuring Caitlyn Jenner, sweeping food onto the floor, and showing disrespect, the Associated Press reported in mid-August.
Other books and magazines confiscated from Manning include a copy of Malala Yousafzai’s autobiography, the book Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy — The Many Faces of Anonymous, an issue of Cosmopolitan featuring an interview with her, and a copy of the US Senate report on CIA torture.
For her private hearing into the charges on Tuesday, she will speak in front of a panel of three people, according to her lawyer Nancy Hollander, who unsuccessfully requested the meeting be held in public.
The Independent has contacted the barracks at Fort Leavenworth for a comment on the claims, and is awaiting a reply.
An online petition calling on Manning to be spared from solitary confinement has garnered tens of thousands signatures. Signatories argue she is being purposefully silenced, as she is active on Twitter and writes a newspaper column for The Guardian.
Earlier this week, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union told The Guardian that Manning is being unfairly targeted at the facility.
Chase Strangio, who is in charge of Manning’s legal dispute with the US military over her treatment as a transgender woman said: “Chelsea has a growing voice in the public discussion and it would not surprise me were these charges connected to who she is.”
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies