Former US Army soldier Chelsea Manning has begun a hunger strike to protest her treatment at the prison where she is serving out a 35-year sentence for leaking a trove of classified documents to WikiLeaks.
On Friday, Manning announced she will not cut her hair or consume food or drink voluntarily except for water and medications unless she is given “minimum standards of dignity, respect, and humanity.”
Attorneys for Manning said her demands include receiving written assurances she will receive all of the medically prescribed recommendations for her gender dysphoria.
The prisoner, formerly known as Bradley Manning, is a former Army intelligence analyst convicted of stealing and disseminating 750,000 pages of documents and videos to WikiLeaks.
Manning announced in 2013 that she would live as a woman, three years after she first entered custody, saying she’d been diagnosed in 2010 with gender dysphoria.
“Today, I have decided that I am no longer going to be bullied by this prison — or by anyone within the US government,” Manning said in a statement Friday released by her attorneys. “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 need help. Please, give me help,” she added.
In July, Manning tried to take her own life, her legal representatives said.
Manning has been forced to serve her sentence in an all-male prison and denied medical treatment related to her gender dysphoria, the American Civil Liberties Union said.
Her complaints also include being forced to cut her hair to the military’s length and grooming standards for males.