Chelsea Manning Freed After Wikileaks Testimony Refusal

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Freed after 62 days in jail when she refused to testify for Wikileaks investigation, Manning now faces more legal challenges

The former US intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning (former Bradley Manning) has been freed from a US jail, after spending 62 days in prison for contempt of court.

Manning had reportedly refused to answer further questions about Wikileaks from investigators as she said she already presented her testimony during her 2013 trial.

Manning of course was found guilty of leaking sensitive American government files while serving as a private in the US Army.

Bradley Manning Wikileaks before

Manning jail

Those files from Manning were allegedly received by Julian Assange, who was then the editor-in-chief of Wikileaks, which went on to publish the documents.

For leaking those files, Manning was arrested in 2010 and spent seven years behind bars as part of a 35-year sentence, after she was found guilty of 20 charges related to the leaking of the largest stash of US state secrets in history.

As with her military imprisonment, Manning served some of her jail time in solitary confinement.

However Manning’s sentence was commuted in 2017 by then President Barack Obama, who said her sentence was “disproportionate” to her crimes.

But her legal troubles were not over according to a press release from Manning’s lawyers, released by Sparrow Media, a non-profit newswire.

Manning had been jailed in March and spent 62 days in the William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center in Alexandria, Virginia, after she refused to testify about WikiLeaks after she had been subpoenaed for the ongoing investigation.

“Chelsea’s release follows the expiration of the term of the EDVA Grand Jury that previously demanded her testimony,” read the lawyers statement.

“Unfortunately, even prior to her release, Chelsea was served with another subpoena,” the lawyers said. “This means she is expected to appear before a different grand jury, on Thursday, May 16, 2019, just one week from her release today.”

“It is therefore conceivable that she will once again be held in contempt of court, and be returned to the custody of the Alexandria Detention Center, possibly as soon as next Thursday, May 16,” the lawyers said.

“Chelsea will continue to refuse to answer questions, and will use every available legal defence to prove to District Judge Trenga that she has just cause for her refusal to give testimony.”

Assange extradition

The legal troubles for Manning mirror that of Julian Assange, who last week was sentenced to just under a year in jail (50 weeks) for breaching his bail conditions.

Assange in 2012 had fled to the Ecuadorian Embassy in Knightsbridge, central London, after he lost his final plea to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he had faced allegations of raping a woman and sexually molesting and coercing another in Stockholm in August 2010 – charges he always denied.

After a seven year stalemate Assange was arrested in April 2019, when British police entered the Ecuadorian Embassy and dragged him out.

Assange is currently fighting a US extradition request, after he indicted for computer hacking crimes, related to Manning’s data transfer of US secrets to a secure WikiLeaks portal.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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