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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 9/13/16

Don't punish Chelsea Manning -- release her

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Reprinted from The Guardian

The incarcerated whistleblower is on a hunger strike to protest her treatment. It's time to heed her pleas for help

Chelsea Manning
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How much more suffering will brave whistleblower Chelsea Manning have to endure in prison at the hands of her tormentors and jailors? Since leaking State and Defense Department documents to Wikileaks in 2010, the amount of injustice Chelsea has had to suffer is almost incalculable.

The Guardian columnist is entering her fifth day of a hunger strike, in protest for not receiving proper medical treatment and over the fact that -- almost inconceivably -- the Army may punish her with "indefinite solitary confinement" for her suicide attempt last month.

Tragically, this is just one item in a long list of deplorable treatment. Before she was even convicted of leaking to WikiLeaks she was subjected to brutal and disgusting treatment by the Army, which the UN said amounted to "cruel and unusual" punishment, and what over 250 law professors said amounted to torture. Of course no one was punished for any of it, besides the State Department spokesman at the time, who had to resign after calling the treatment "ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid."

She was then given a grossly out of proportion 35-year sentence -- many times larger than any other leaker in history. She and her legal team are thankfully in the middle of appealing the conviction in the military court of appeals, where she is challenging the constitutionality of the Espionage Act, the outdated and draconian law that was meant for spies working for foreign governments, not conscientious Americans looking to inform the public.

On top of all this, Manning has been denied proper medical care for gender dysphoria and has to fight in court every step of the way to get the government to recognize her rights as a transgender prisoner. In 2015, she was punished by the Army and was restricted in her recreation activities for having non-approved magazines and "expired toothpaste."

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