Chelsea Manning: Jailed US analyst walks free after refusing to testify to WikiLeaks grand jury

Manning has received another subpoena demanding she testify to a new grand jury, opening on 16 May

Adam Withnall@adamwithnall
Friday 10 May 2019 05:45
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Chelsea Manning: Jailed US analyst walks free after refusing to testify to WikiLeaks grand jury

Chelsea Manning, the former US intelligence analyst, has been released from prison after she was jailed for refusing to testify to a grand jury investigating WikiLeaks.

Ms Manning spent 62 days in jail on contempt charges but was released as the term of the grand jury she was supposed to give evidence to expired.

However, the former army employee, who served seven years of a 35-year sentence for handing a huge trove of confidential documents to WikiLeaks, could be back in jail within a week.

She has received another subpoena demanding she testify to a new grand jury, opening on 16 May.

Under US federal law, a person subpoenaed by a grand jury can be jailed on a civil contempt charge if judges believe it has a chance of coercing them to give evidence.

Earlier this week, Ms Manning’s lawyers filed court papers arguing that she should not be jailed again because she has proven that she will stick to her principles and will not testify no matter how long she is jailed.

If a judge were to determine that incarcerating Ms Manning were punitive rather than coercive, she would not be jailed.

“At this point, given the sacrifices she has already made, her strong principles, her strong and growing support community, and the disgrace attendant to her capitulation, it is inconceivable that Chelsea Manning will ever change her mind about her refusal to cooperate with the grand jury,” her lawyers wrote.

Ms Manning filed an eight-page statement with the court on Monday outlining her resolve.

“Cooperation with this grand jury is simply not an option. Doing so would mean throwing away all of my principles, accomplishments, sacrifices, and erase decades of my reputation – an obvious impossibility,” she wrote.

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She also said she was suffering disproportionately in jail because of physical problems related to inadequate follow-up care to gender-reassignment surgery.

Ms Manning was working for the army in Iraq in 2010 when she was arrested and accused of leaking 700,000 documents, diplomatic cables and videos.

She was accused of putting the lives of American soldiers at risk, but said she acted in order to open up debate about US foreign policy.

Her 35-year sentence was the longest for leaking in US history and president Barack Obama referred to it as “disproportionate” to her crimes. He commuted the remainder of her sentence in 2017, just before leaving office.

Additional reporting by agencies

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