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<nettime> Chelsea Manning ends hunger strike after Army cooperates

September 13, 2016
Contact: Christina DiPasquale,
Evan Greer, Fight for the Future, 978-852-6457,

BREAKING: Chelsea Manning ends hunger strike after Army agrees
to provide her with gender reassignment surgery – Still faces
indefinite solitary confinement for suicide attempt

Supporters, including REM’s Michael Stipe and Daniel Ellsberg,
launch new campaign at demanding U.S. government drop
charges stemming from suicide attempt

LEAVENWORTH, KS––Chelsea Manning has ended a hunger strike that
she began five days ago, after the U.S. military has agreed to move
forward with the recommended treatment for her gender dysphoria.
However, the Army is continuing to threaten Chelsea with solitary
confinement for charges directly related to her attempt to take her
own life, even though it was the government’s own mistreatment of
Chelsea that drove her to it.

Supporters have launched a new effort at calling
for the charges to be dropped. The site features a petition to the
Secretary of the Army Eric Fanning as well as videos uploaded by
supporters including Michael Stipe of R.E.M. and Pentagon Papers
whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg.

Chelsea alerted attorneys and supporters that she was ending the
hunger strike after government officials showed her a memo stating
that she will receive gender-reassignment surgery, under the DOD’s
new policy affecting transgender service members. If this occurs,
Manning will be the first transgender prisoner in the U.S. to receive
this medically recommended treatment, setting a precedent that could
benefit thousands of transgender prisoner.

“I am unendingly relieved that the military is finally doing the
right thing. I applaud them for that. This is all that I wanted –
for them to let me be me,” said Chelsea Manning in a statement to
her attorneys. “But it is hard not to wonder why it has taken so
long. Also, why were such drastic measures needed? The surgery was
recommended back in April 2016. The recommendations for my hair length
were back in 2014. In any case, I hope this sets a precedent for the
thousands of trans people behind me hoping they will be given the
treatment they need.”

“It is a relief to hear that the government has finally agreed to
move forward with providing Chelsea with the health care that she
is legally entitled to and is medically needed. We hope that they
will act to provide this care without delay in order to ensure that
her suffering does not continue,” said Chase Strangio, Chelsea’s
attorney at the ACLU, “This medical care is absolutely vital for
Chelsea. It was the government’s refusal to provide her with the
necessary care that led her to attempt suicide earlier this year,
and it was all the more troubling when she became subject to an
investigation and possible punishment in connection with the suicide
attempt. We hope that the government recognizes that charging Chelsea
with the crime of being denied essential health care is outrageous and
drops those charges.”

“Hundreds of thousands of people spoke out in support of Chelsea,
and now the government is finally agreeing to provide her with the
healthcare treatment that she needs,” said Evan Greer, campaign
director of Fight for the Future, the digital rights group behind that has supported Chelsea over the last year, “but
now that the Army is acknowledging Chelsea deserves this treatment,
it’s even more outrageous that they’re still threatening her with
solitary confinement for charges related to her own suicide attempt.
It was the government’s refusal to grant Chelsea access to needed
health care that led to her suicide attempt in the first place.”

Chelsea’s supporters plan to release more videos to raise awareness
about the petition at in the coming days.

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