Cyprus Mail
Americas

WikiLeaker Manning says wants to live as a woman

By Susan Heavey and Ian Simpson

Bradley Manning, the U.S. soldier sentenced to 35 years in military prison for the biggest breach of classified documents in the nation’s history, said on Thursday he is female and wants to live as a woman named Chelsea.

Manning received the sentence on Wednesday for giving more than 700,000 secret files, videos and diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks. His lawyers had argued the former Army intelligence analyst suffered a gender identity crisis when he leaked the files while serving in Iraq in 2009 and 2010.

“As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me. I am Chelsea Manning, I am a female,” Manning, 25, said in the statement read by anchorwoman Savannah Guthrie on NBC News’ “Today” show.

“Given the way that I feel and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible,” Manning said. “I also request that starting today you refer to me by my new name and use the feminine pronoun.”

Manning’s lawyer David Coombs said on the TV programme he expected his client to get a pardon from U.S. President Barack Obama.

Manning was convicted last month on 20 charges, including espionage and theft. He will serve his sentence at the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Coombs has said Manning could be pardoned in seven years.

The Defence Department referred a call seeking comment to the U.S. Army, which did not respond immediately.

Coombs said Manning was seeking hormone therapy and not a sex-change operation.

“I’m hoping that Fort Leavenworth will do the right thing and provide that. If Fort Leavenworth does not, then I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure that they are forced to do so,” he said.

“COMFORTABLE IN HER SKIN”

Asked if Manning wanted to be sent to a women’s prison, Coombs said no.

“I think the ultimate goal is to be comfortable in her skin and to be the person that she’s never had an opportunity to be,” he said.

Coombs said he was not worried about Manning’s safety in a military prison since inmates there were first-time offenders who wanted to complete their sentences and get out.

Experts generally view military prisons as safer than civilian prisons since the inmates are accustomed to hierarchy and discipline.

Manning had not wanted his gender identity issues to become public, but they did after his arrest in 2010, Coombs said.

“Now that it is (public), unfortunately you have to deal with it in a public manner,” he said.

A psychiatrist, Navy Reserve Captain David Moulton, testified during Manning’s trial that he suffered from gender dysphoria, or wanting to be the opposite sex, as well as narcissism and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Defence lawyers had argued that Manning had been increasingly isolated and under intense stress when he leaked the files, and that his superiors had ignored warning signs.

They cited erratic behavior, including sending a picture of himself dressed as a woman to a superior and punching another soldier.

In a related case involving gender-identity issues in prisons, a federal judge last year ordered Massachusetts officials to pay for a convicted murderer’s sex-change operation. The judge ruled the state had violated the inmate’s constitutional rights in denying the procedure.

Related posts

Hezbollah says two Israeli drones fall in Beirut suburbs, one explodes (Updated)

Reuters News Service

Trump paints picture of unity at prickly G7 summit

Reuters News Service

Johnson to tell EU’s Tusk UK won’t pay 39 bln stg under no-deal Brexit -Sky News

Reuters News Service

‘We cannot remain silent over Amazon fires,’ says Merkel

Press Association

Thousands march in Hong Kong as police in black masks look on

Reuters News Service

Paris prosecutor opens inquiry into whether Epstein committed crimes in France

Reuters News Service

1 comment

Comments are closed.