Chelsea Manning found guilty of absurd infractions, but spared solitary confinement

Originally posted by the Chelsea Manning Support Network. August 19, 2015

chelsea-buttons.jpgAfter 100k petitions were delivered to the Army yesterday, the secret disciplinary panel at Fort Leavenworth military prison sentenced Chelsea to 21 days of restrictions on her recreational activities, including no access to the gym, library or outdoors.

We won an important victory by keeping Chelsea out of “indefinite solitary confinement;” however, this ruling of guilty on all four absurd charges is not without significant ramifications.

Now these convictions will follow me through to any parole and clemency hearings, forever. I was expecting to be in minimum custody in February, but now years added,” Chelsea explained (via phone) after her hearing last night.

“As Chelsea’s lawyer, I am horrified and angry about these convictions. This was a star chamber where Chelsea had to defend herself in secret.These convictions will not silence her. She will only be stronger and we will fight that much harder in her appeal to overturn her convictions and her sentence,” declared Chelsea’s lead attorney Nancy Hollander.

Chelsea had formally petitioned for the hearing to be open to the public, or at the very least, her lawyers. DENIED. A few days ago, Chelsea began visiting the prison library to prepare her own defense. Prison staff DENIED her access. Chelsea made a formal demand to be tried by court martial instead of the secret panel. DENIED.

GUILTY of expired toothpaste. “A tube of anti-cavity toothpaste, MKIC, was found in your possession past its expiration date of 9 April 2015,” read the charge sheet. Note that this tube was recently sold to Chelsea by the prison.

GUILTY of unauthorized reading material, specifically: this month’s Caitlyn Jenner issue of Vanity Fair, the memoir “I Am Malala” by Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, the US Senate Report on Torture, the LGBT publication Out Magazine, and the Cosmopolitan issue featuring Chelsea’s interview. Note that these materials were delivered to Chelsea by the prison mail system.

GUILTY of disrespecting a guard, for simply asking to speak to her attorney before making a statement about what happened moments earlier in the mess hall.

And what started all this? Chelsea may have accidently knocked a small condiment packet (possibly mustard) off of her table during a meal. She’s not actually sure. Regardless, GUILTY of disorderly conduct.

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