Chelsea Manning freed after jailed for contempt

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Washington, May 10 (IANS) Former US military intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning has been released from prison after spending two months behind bars for refusing to testify before a grand jury, her lawyers said.

“Today marked the expiration of the term of the grand jury, and so, after 62 days of confinement, Chelsea was released from the Alexandria Detention Center earlier today,” Manning’s legal team said in a statement on Thursday night.

Manning, who spent seven years in prison for disclosing confidential state information to WikiLeaks, could be returned to jail as she has been summoned to testify again and has already announced her refusal to do so.

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

“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 Centre, possibly as soon as next Thursday, May 16,” the statement added.

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

In March, Manning refused to answer questions at a hearing in front of a grand jury at the Eastern District Court of Virginia, saying she had already presented her testimony during her trial in 2013. She was charged with contempt.

Although the nature of the questions which the prosecutors intend to ask Manning is not known, the former soldier and her lawyers have said that they will not testify about WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange.

Assange was arrested in London on April 11 at the Ecuadorian embassy soon after Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno ended his seven-year diplomatic asylum.

Manning was arrested in Iraq in 2010 for disclosing to WikiLeaks more than 700,000 classified documents about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, along with State Department cables.

In 2013, she was sentenced to 35 years in prison, but her sentence was commuted in 2017 by then-President Barack Obama.

–IANS

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