Manning’s Suicide Attempt is Typical for Victims of ‘Prolonged Psychological Torture’ – UN Expert


On 1 November 2019 Nils Melzer, the UN’s torture expert, said the prolonged detention of Chelsea Manning for refusing to testify before a grand jury amounted to “torture”. Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison for her role in publishing classified documents which revealed US war crimes, before her sentence was commuted.

The UN’s expert on torture Nils Melzer has described US Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning’s recent suicide attempt as a “typical” act of desperation for someone subjected to “prolonged psychological torture”. Melzer’s comments were made via Twitter on 12 March 2020, the day after Manning’s failed attempt to take her own life. She had previously attempted suicide in 2016 while serving a 35 year prison sentence for her whistleblowing activities, though her sentenced was later commuted by US president Barack Obama. 

The former intelligence analyst was jailed in May 2019 and fined $500 a day, which eventually became $1,000 a day, for refusing to testify to a secret grand jury believed to be targeting WikiLeaks publisher and journalist Julian Assange.

​​The UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment had already notified US authorities in November 2019 that he considered Manning’s treatment as unlawful and ultimately amounting to torture.

​After watching the new documentary Eminent Monsters: A manual for modern torture, Melzer…

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