Chelsea Manning Released After Testimony Deemed No Longer Necessary

WikiLeaks whistleblower Chelsea Manning has been released from prison, having been held in a detention center in Virginia for almost a year.

Former soldier Manning was scheduled to appear in court on Friday, but according to BBC News the judge ruled that it was no longer necessary for her to testify. Manning had refused to answer further questions about WikiLeaks from investigators because she said she had already given her testimony during the 2013 trial.

According to Reuters, on Wednesday, Manning’s spokesman Andy Stepanian said that in spite of her imprisonment and the imposition of financial sanctions, Manning remained “unwavering in her refusal to participate in a secret grand jury process that she sees as highly susceptible to abuse.”

She was originally charged for leaking secret military files to WikiLeaks in 2010, and was sentenced to 35 years in a military prison. However, she was granted an early release by Barack Obama at the end of his presidency in 2016.

According to the court order, “upon consideration of the court’s May 16, 2019 Order, the Motion, and the Court’s March 12, 2020 Order discharging Grand Jury 19-3, the Court finds that Ms Manning’s appearance before the Grand Jury is no longer needed, in light of which her detention no longer serves any coercive purpose.”

The order also said that the Court “further finds that the enforcement of the accrued, conditional fines would not be punitive but rather necessary to the coercive purpose of the Court’s civil contempt order.” It also said that the $256,000 in “accrued, conditional fines” was payable immediately. This includes fines imposed on her for refusal to testify.

It was reported by The Guardian earlier this week that Manning had attempted suicide.

In February, Manning’s attorney Moira Meltzer-Cohen filed a motion to release Manning, based on evidence, including an expert’s assessment of Chelsea’s personality profile, and a public condemnation of her “coercive confinement” by Nils Melzer, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. 

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