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ACLU Sues Defense Secretary Hagel, Others Over Chelsea Manning's Gender Treatment

"Such clear disregard of well-established medical protocols constitutes cruel and unusual punishment," Manning's attorneys say in statement.

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The Associated Press

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Chelsea Manning Tuesday against Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and other Department of Defense officials over the military's improper medical treatment for her gender dysphoria.

Manning, who is transgender, has alleged that she's only been given lip-service in response to her requests to receive medical treatment, such as hormone therapy, for her condition while she serves a 35-year prison sentence at the United States Disciplinary Barracks at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas.

The suit alleges that such medical care has been withheld from Manning even though military doctors themselves diagnosed her with the condition, which attorneys say is a constitutional violation.

As a part of the suit, the ACLU is seeking a preliminary injunction demanding officials grant Manning with appropriate hormone therapy, the ability to follow female grooming standards, and access to medical providers who are qualified to treat patients with gender dysphoria.

"The government continues to deny Ms. Manning's access to necessary medical treatment for gender dysphoria, without which she will continue to suffer severe psychological harms," said Chase Strangio, attorney in the ACLU Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender project and co-counsel on Ms. Manning's case, in a statement. "Such clear disregard of well-established medical protocols constitutes cruel and unusual punishment."

Previously, the ACLU warned it would sue military officials if a treatment plan was not put into place by Sept. 4.

Manning was convicted in July 2013 for violating the Espionage Act and other offenses after leaking thousands of classified intelligence documents to WikiLeaks. Shortly thereafter, she announced that she is transgender and has yet to receive proper gender treatment.

Chris Geidner contributed to this report.

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