Chelsea Manning tried to kill herself on the first day of a term in solitary confinement imposed as punishment for an earlier suicide attempt, her lawyers say. In a statement provided to the New York Times, the transgender soldier says she was placed on suicide watch after the Oct. 4 attempt. She goes on to describe what the Times calls a "bizarre sequence of events" a few days later in which people impersonating guards carried out an assault on the prison and she heard them torturing the real guards. Manning says the attackers tried to get her to escape and she refused. "Everything returned to normal" the next morning, although the tier was being deep-cleaned, says Manning, who is serving a 35-year sentence for passing secret documents to WikiLeaks.
A psychiatrist specializing in the effects of solitary confinement tells the Times that delirium including paranoia and hallucinations is a "classic symptom" experienced by inmates in solitary. Attorney Chase Strangio says prison is clearly taking its toll on Manning. "After her July suicide attempt, I watched her begin to piece her life and spirit back together only to have that shattered by the disciplinary proceedings brought against her and then the unannounced initiation of her term of punishment last month," he tells the AP. "She has repeatedly been punished for trying to survive and now is being repeatedly punished for trying to die." Manning is now back in the general prison population at Fort Leavenworth, though members of her support network say she kept spotting the "fake guards" for weeks after leaving solitary. (Read more Chelsea Manning stories.)