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Attorneys for imprisoned transgender soldier Chelsea Manning are livid following failed attempts to contact their client after she was briefly hospitalized on Tuesday.
Manning, who was convicted in 2013 on espionage charges and other offenses for sending more than 700,000 classified documents to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks, was taken to the hospital in the early hours of Tuesday, July 5, Army spokesman Wayne Hall confirmed to NBC News.
She has since returned back to the United State Disciplinary Barracks in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where she is currently serving a 35-year sentence.
Hall said that military officials were continuing to monitor Manning’s condition, but gave no details as to what that condition might be.
Meanwhile, Manning’s lawyers have not been able to get in touch with her, and are furious to see unverified information relating to her medical status apparently leaked to various media.
"We’re shocked and outraged that an official at Leavenworth contacted the press with private confidential medical information about Chelsea Manning yet no one at the Army has given a shred of information to her legal team," said Nancy Hollander, lead attorney on Manning’s defense team, in a statement.
Hollander accused the Army of lying to her about why a privileged call scheduled with Manning on Tuesday fell through.
“I had a privileged call scheduled with Chelsea at 2 p.m. Leavenworth time yesterday, after the Army has now said she was hospitalized, but the Army gave the excuse — which I now believe to be an outright lie—that the call could not be connected although my team was waiting by the phone,” she said.
“Despite the fact that they have reached out to the media, and that any other prison will connect an emergency call, the Army has told her lawyers that the earliest time that they will accommodate a call between her lawyers and Chelsea is Friday morning.”
News of Manning’s hospitalization comes on top of a difficult year for the former intelligence analyst.
Last August, she was found guilty of violating jail rules, including medicine misuse and possession of books and magazines while under administrative segregation. (Manning had a copy of the July Vanity Fair issue with transgender star Caitlyn Jenner on the cover, as well as an expired tube of toothpaste.) She was also charged with disorderly conduct for allegedly sweeping food onto the floor and being disrespectful to a correctional specialist.
Later in 2015, military officials denied Manning’s request to grow her hair in accordance with female grooming standards.
Though Manning was granted access to hormone therapy, female undergarments and cosmetics in conjunction with medically-prescribed treatment options for gender dysphoria — a condition in which a person’s gender assigned at birth does not match that person’s expressed or experienced gender — growing out her hair presented “security concerns,” the Department of Justice argued in a brief supporting the military.
And less than a week ago, Manning penned an op-ed for The Guardian that hailed the military’s decision to lift its longstanding ban on transgender troops. But she was critical of some of the conditions the new policy laid out for service. Transgender people, for example, will be required to wait 18 months after a doctor certifies that they are stable in their gender identity before they can enlist.
“We don’t need the military to be the gatekeeper of our gender expression and identity,” Manning wrote. “We should be able to define ourselves.”