Chelsea Manning

Chelsea Manning facing indefinite solitary confinement for books & toothpaste

Political prisoner (and personal hero) Chelsea Manning is facing indefinite solitary confinement after supposed “contraband” was found in her possession.

She is being accused of “disrespect” and “disorderly conduct” for sweeping food onto the floor at dinner and then asking to speak with her lawyer when she was reprimanded. Yes, a prisoner is being threatened with solitary for asking to speak to her lawyer. She is also being accused of having “prohibited property” and “medicine misuse”:

The fourth charge, “medicine misuse”, follows an inspection of Manning’s cell on 9 July during which a tube of anti-cavity toothpaste was found. The prison authorities noted that Manning was entitled to have the toothpaste in her cell, but is penalizing her because it was “past its expiration date of 9 April 2015”.

The “prohibited property” charge relates to a number of books and magazines that were found in her cell and confiscated. They included the memoir I Am Malala by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai, a novel featuring trans women called A Safe Girl to Love, the LGBT publication Out Magazine, the Caitlyn Jenner issue of Vanity Fair and a copy of Cosmopolitan that included an interview with Manning.

Also confiscated was the US Senate report on torture.

A Safe Girl to Love is actually a Lambda award winning collection of short stories by Casey Plett that’s incredible and that you should read – and that Chelsea Manning should be allowed to read, too.

Nancy Hollander, the lawyer handling Manning’s appeal, told the Guardian: “I’m concerned that books have been taken from her – those books came to her legally and are clearly not a security threat.” She also called the toothpaste-related charge “utterly ridiculous.”

Because Manning is a political prisoner with a platform, we have an opportunity to bring attention to this obvious injustice and impact the outcome of these current absurd charges. And hopefully this case can also bring attention to the wide spread, arbitrary use of solitary confinement as punishment for bullshit infractions.

Supporters have set up a petition to bring attention to these new charges. Amplifying this story via your social medias is also helpful – the more people know and are outraged about this the better.

Boston, MA

Jos Truitt is Executive Director of Development at Feministing. She joined the team in July 2009, became an Editor in August 2011, and Executive Director in September 2013. She writes about a range of topics including transgender issues, abortion access, and media representation. Jos first got involved with organizing when she led a walk out against the Iraq war at her high school, the Boston Arts Academy. She was introduced to the reproductive justice movement while at Hampshire College, where she organized the Civil Liberties and Public Policy Program’s annual reproductive justice conference. She has worked on the National Abortion Federation’s hotline, was a Field Organizer at Choice USA, and has volunteered as a Pro-Choice Clinic Escort. Jos has written for publications including The Guardian, Bilerico, RH Reality Check, Metro Weekly, and the Columbia Journalism Review. She has spoken and trained at numerous national conferences and college campuses about trans issues, reproductive justice, blogging, feminism, and grassroots organizing. Jos completed her MFA in Printmaking at the San Francisco Art Institute in Spring 2013. In her "spare time" she likes to bake and work on projects about mermaids.

Jos Truitt is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Development.

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