Julian Assange: Chelsea Manning says arrest of WikiLeaks founder strengthens claim she is victim of judicial abuse

The 31-year-old was jailed indefinitely for refusing to cooperate with WikiLeaks probe

Andrew Buncombe
Friday 12 April 2019 00:25 BST
Aerials show van escorting Julian Assange to London jail after being found guilty of breaching bail conditions

Chelsea Manning has said the arrest of Julian Assange – the man to whom she leaked classified information a decade ago – underscored her claim that her continued imprisonment represents judicial abuse.

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 Thursday, after Assange was arrested in London on behalf of the US where he was charged with conspiracy in relation to publishing the material Ms Manning provided, the former army intelligence analyst said through her lawyers, that developments had make her argument stronger.

“The indictment against Julian Assange unsealed today was obtained a year to the day before Chelsea appeared before the grand jury and refused to give testimony,” she said in a statement.

“The fact that this indictment has existed for over a year underscores what Chelsea’s legal team and Chelsea herself have been saying since she was first issued a subpoena to appear in front of a Federal Grand Jury in the Eastern District of Virginia — that compelling Chelsea to testify would have been duplicative of evidence already in the possession of the grand jury, and was not needed in order for US Attorneys to obtain an indictment of Mr Assange.”

The statement added: “Since her testimony can no longer contribute to a grand jury investigation, Chelsea’s ongoing detention can no longer be seriously alleged to constitute an attempt to coerce her testimony. As continued detention would be purely punitive, we demand Chelsea be released.”

Chelsea Manning says she had 'responsibility to the public' to leak a trove of classified documents

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.

Easier this month, it was revealed Ms Manning had been moved from administrative segregation at the Virginia jail while she is serving an indefinite sentence after refusing to testify to the grand jury probe.

The Associated Press said jail officials refused to confirm Ms Manning’s status, but said administrative segregation was used for safety reasons and those inmates still had access to social visits, recreation and break time.

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