Lawyers for Chelsea Manning, the 27-year-old US Army private doing time at a military prison for leaking classified documents, say she is now facing indefinite solitary confinement for allegedly having an expired tube of toothpaste and a copy of the Vanity Fair issue with reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner on the cover.
Manning, a transgender inmate known formerly as Army Private First Class Bradley Manning, was sentenced to 35 years in prison in 2013 and is now at the Fort Leavenworth institution in Kansas. Manning was convicted of leaking the largest number of classified documents in US history to WikiLeaks.
The Pentagon confirmed Manning has been accused of infractions but would not go into any more detail.
"The case has been processed and is currently pending a Disciplinary and Adjustment Board," US Army spokeswoman Cynthia Smith said in a statement. "Discipline and adjustment boards are a common practice in correctional systems to hold prisoners accountable to facility rules and adjudicate alleged violations within an administrative process."
In documents released online, the military alleges Manning conducted herself "in a contemptuous manner by being disrespectful to the cadre present" during dinner.
The documents also allege that, in July, during a cell inspection, a tube of "anti-cavity toothpaste" was found past its expiration date.
The charges also include "prohibited property" found in Manning’s cell. According to the charge sheet released by Manning’s lawyers, those items include the Vanity Fair magazine as well as the US Senate report on torture and the book, "I Am Malala", by Pakistani Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai.
It’s unclear whether the military will pursue solitary confinement as punishment but Manning’s lawyers argue her public persona and criticism of the military is part of the reason she’s being targeted.
"When someone is active in delivering messages to the public from within prison walls, like Chelsea is, we have to question whether or not actions taken against them are done in an effort to silence their voice," Chase Strangio, Manning’s attorney, told DC Dispatches.