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Chelsea Manning fails to win bail after refusing to testify against Julian Assange and Wikileaks

The 31-year-old now considering appeal to Supreme Court 

Andrew Buncombe
Monday 22 April 2019 22:21 BST
Chelsea Manning says she had 'responsibility to the public' to leak a trove of classified documents

Chelsea Manning has failed in her bid to secure bail after being imprisoned for refusing to testify against Julian Assange and Wikileaks.

Ms Manning, 31, was last month sent to jail indefinitely after she refused to take part in a department of justice investigation into WikiLeaks, and told judges she would accept “whatever you bring upon me”. The investigation is using secret hearings involving a grand jury.

“I will not participate in a secret process that I morally object to, particularly one that has been used to entrap and persecute activists for protected political speech,” she said, as the court ordered her to be held until she agreed to cooperate, or else the grand jury process was completed.

On Monday, an appeals court denied the whistleblower’s request to be released on bail.

Her lawyers had argued that trying to force her to give evidence against Mr Assange, who earlier this month was arrested in London and charged by the US of conspiring with Ms Manning to try and hack a US computer, breached her rights under the first, fourth and sixth amendments of the US constitution.

Her lawyers said that among other things, the lower court had failed to address her concerns that the government was abusing the grand jury process so it could preview or undermine her testimony as a potential defence witness at a trial.

Her lawyers have also argued that the courtroom was improperly sealed during substantial portions of the hearing.

But a three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit did not agree.

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“The court finds no error in the district court’s rulings and affirms its finding of civil contempt,” they wrote.

In a statement issued through her lawyers, Ms Manning said she was now considering further appeals, to either the whole panel of Fourth Circuit judges or else the Supreme Court.

“While disappointing, we can still raise issues as the government continues to abuse the grand jury process. I don’t have anything to contribute to this, or any other grand jury,” she said.

“While I miss home, they can continue to hold me in jail, with all the harmful consequences that brings. I will not give up. Thank you all so very much for your love and solidarity through letters and contributions.”

Ms Manning served seven years in jail between 2010–2017 after being charged with more than a dozen crimes, after leaking 750,000 classified, or unclassified but sensitive documents to WikiLeaks.

Among the information, was video footage showing US military helicopter attack on civilians in Baghdad that killed more than a dozen people.

Mr Assange was arrested on April 11 at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, after US prosecutors in the Eastern District of Virginia unsealed a criminal case against him, alleging he conspired with Ms Manning to commit computer intrusion.

The justice department said Mr Assange was arrested under an extradition treaty between the United States and Britain.

With Reuters

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