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World & Nation

Chelsea Manning released from jail on contempt charge

Chelsea Manning
Before she left the jail, Chelsea Manning, shown last year, received another subpoena demanding her testimony on May 16 to a new grand jury.
(Markus Schreiber / Associated Press)

Former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning was released from a northern Virginia jail Thursday after a two-month stay for refusing to testify to a grand jury.

Manning spent 62 days at the Alexandria Detention Center on civil contempt charges after she refused to answer questions to a federal grand jury investigating WikiLeaks.

Her lawyers fear her freedom may be short-lived, though. She was released only because the grand jury’s term expired. Before she left the jail, she received another subpoena demanding her testimony on May 16 to a new grand jury.

Her lawyers say she will again refuse to answer questions and could again face another term of incarceration.

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Manning served seven years in a military prison for leaking a trove of documents to WikiLeaks before President Obama commuted the remainder of her 35-year sentence.

Earlier this week, Manning’s lawyers filed court papers arguing that she should not be jailed for civil contempt because she has proved that she will won’t testify as a matter of principle, no matter how long she’s jailed.

Federal law allows a recalcitrant witness to be jailed on civil contempt only if there’s a chance that the incarceration will coerce the witness into testifying. If a judge were to determine that incarcerating Manning were punitive rather than coercive, she would not be jailed.

WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange faces U.S. hacking charge after dramatic arrest in London »

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“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.

Manning filed an eight-page statement with the court on Monday, outlining her resolve. She wrote that “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.

The ex-soldier formerly known as Bradley Manning also said she was suffering disproportionately in jail because of physical problems related to inadequate follow-up care to her gender-reassignment surgery.


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