Chelsea Manning goes on hunger strike in prison 'quite possibly until my permanent incapacitation or death'

The former soldier has submitted a do-not-resuscitate letter which comes into effect immediately in statement telling administration: 'I am ready for this'

Heather Saul
Saturday 10 September 2016 16:09 BST
Chelsea Manning sued the US government for the right to live as a woman
Chelsea Manning sued the US government for the right to live as a woman (Reuters)

Chelsea Manning has announced her decision to go on hunger strike in the Kansas military prison where she is currently being held.

The US whistleblower is serving a 35-year sentence at Fort Leavenworth prison for leaking classified documents.

In a statement released on the Free Chelsea Manning website, Manning, who is transgender, said she will refuse treatment until she receives help for gender dysphoria which she says led her to try to kill herself in July.

She was hospitalised and released back into prison after receiving medical treatment.

Her lawyers have said she was charged with administrative offences after the suicide attempt which could result in her being placed in solitary confinement.

Protesters call for Chelsea Manning's release (Reuters)

In her statement, Manning said her repeated requests for help have been “ignored delayed, mocked, given trinkets and lip service by the prison, the military, and this administration”.

Manning said her hunger strike will be “peaceful and non-violent” but will continue for a long time, “quite possibly until my permanent incapacitation or death”.

She has submitted a “do not resuscitate” letter with immediate effect.

“I am ready for this,“ she said.

Manning sued the military for the right to receive hormonal treatment while in prison in order to continue her transition. In her statement, she said she would also no longer be voluntarily cutting her hair.

“I need help. I needed help earlier this year. I was driven to suicide by the lack of care for my gender dysphoria that I have been desperate for. I didn't get any. I still haven't gotten any,” her statement continues.

“I am no longer asking. Now, I am demanding. As of 12.01 am Central Daylight Time on 9 September, 2016, and until I am given minimum standards of dignity, respect, and humanity, I shall refuse to voluntarily cut or shorten my hair in any way; consume any food or drink voluntarily, except for water and currently prescribed medications; and comply with all rules, regulations, laws, and orders that are not related to the two things I have mentioned.

“Today, I have decided that I am no longer going to be bullied by this prison – or by anyone within the US government.

"I have asked for nothing but the dignity and respect – that I once actually believed would be provided for – afforded to any living human being.”

"I will not physically resist or in any way harm another person. I have also submitted a 'do not resuscitate' letter that is effective immediately.

"This shall include any attempts to forcibly cut or shorten my hair or to forcibly feed me by any medical or pseudo-medical means.”

The Department of Defence told the Independent it has no immediate comment to make.

Manning’s lawyer did not respond to a request for comment.

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