Ocasio-Cortez calls for release of Chelsea Manning: ‘Solitary confinement is torture’

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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) called for the release of Chelsea Manning Tuesday, saying the whistleblower was being subjected to “torture” in the form of solitary confinement.

Manning served seven years in prison for providing classified documents before former President Obama commuted her sentence in 2017, but was jailed for contempt in March after refusing a grand jury subpoena to testify against WikiLeaks and founder Julian Assange.

“Solitary confinement is torture,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted Tuesday. “Chelsea is being tortured for whistleblowing, she should be released on bail, and we should ban extended solitary in the US.”

{mosads}Manning’s support committee has said her conditions qualify as solitary confinement, and that Manning is kept in her cell 22 hours a day.

“She has not been outside for 16 days. She is permitted to make phone calls and move about outside her cell between 1 and 3 a.m.,” the committee said in a March 23 statement

Dana Lawhorne, the sheriff in Alexandria, Virginia, where Manning is detained, told CNN that Manning is not in solitary confinement.

“Our facility does not have ‘solitary confinement’ and inmates housed in administrative segregation for safety and security reasons still have access to social visits, books, recreation, and break time outside their cells,” Lawhorne said. “[The] federal government has never suggested to us how to treat any inmate and it is unfair to imply that there is a ‘conspiracy’ of any kind.”

Ocasio-Cortez is one of the highest-profile political figures so far to comment on Manning’s detention. In January, both participated in a charity video game live stream on Twitch to raise money for transgender youth.

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