Michael Stipe has recorded a short video voicing his support for Chelsea Manning, the Army soldier currently imprisoned for leaking classified information to Wikileaks.
Recently, Manning had threatened to go on a hunger strike to protest the treatment she was receiving behind bars at the US Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. That protest ended Wednesday as the army promised they would allow Manning to receive gender transition surgery, the American Civil Liberties Union announced (via The Guardian).
However, while Manning was on hunger strike, the R.E.M. singer recorded a video in support of the whistleblower, Stereogum reports.
"I’m Michael Stipe and I support human rights for all people. As an American patriot, it is my duty to stand with Chelsea Manning," he said. "After years of mistreatment in prison, she tragically attempted to take her own life. Instead of giving her the treatment that she needs, the government is now threatening her with indefinite solitary confinement. This is unjustifiable, it is unfair, and it needs to be stopped."
Stipe also encouraged fans to sign the petition at FreeChelsea.com.
Manning will be the first inmate to receive transition surgery in prison, the ACLU said. "I am unendingly relieved that the military is finally doing the right thing," Manning said in a statement through the ACLU. "I applaud them for that. This is all that I wanted – for them to let me be me. But it is hard not to wonder why it has taken so long. Also, why were such drastic measures needed?"