Chelsea has been released from prison...for now
Whistleblower and former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning is no longer in jail — but that could change as early as next week.
According to a press release from Manning’s attorneys — via Sparrow Media — she was released from the William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center in Alexandria, VA earlier today, after spending 62 days in jail for refusing to testify about WikiLeaks after being subpoenaed for an ongoing investigation.
But according to Manning’s attorneys, today’s release is on a technicality — the grand jury’s term in the new case has expired, but she’ll be back in court (and if she refuses to testify again, possibly behind bars) as soon as next Thursday when a new grand jury arrives.
“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,” they explain.
But she was given a new subpoena before she left and will need to appear to a new grand jury on Thursday, May 16. Chelsea says that she will never testify against Wikileaks so "further confinement serves no lawful purpose and must be terminated.”
What an incredibly brave person Chelsea is to stand up to her principles even though it has cost her so much.
Her attorneys have filed a motion declaring that she will never cooperate with a grand jury.
According to Moira Meltzer-Cohen, attorney to Chelsea Manning:
“A witness who refuses to cooperate with a grand jury subpoena may be held in contempt of court, and fined or incarcerated. The only permissible purpose for confinement under the civil contempt statute is to attempt to coerce a witness to comply with the subpoena, or “purge” their contempt. If it is no longer possible to purge the contempt, either because the grand jury is no longer in existence, or because the witness is un-coercible, then confinement has been transformed from coercive into punitive, in violation of the law.
“That her confinement has already been so arduous gives credence to her claim that she will endure great hardship rather than agree to cooperate.”
Included in the filing is a lengthy declaration by Chelsea explaining her position:
“After two months of confinement, and using every legal mechanism available so far, I can —without any hesitation— state that nothing will convince me to testify before this or any other grand jury for that matter. This experience so far only proves my long held belief that grand juries are simply outdated tools used by the federal government to harass and disrupt political opponents and activists in fishing expeditions…
“The way I am being treated proves what a corrupt and abusive tool this truly is. With each passing day my disappointment and frustration grow, but so too do my commitments to doing the right thing and continuing to refuse to submit…
“I believe this grand jury seeks to undermine the integrity of public discourse with the aim of punishing those who expose any serious, ongoing, and systemic abuses of power by this government, as well as the rest of the international community…”
“Over the past decade, I grappled with bouts of depression. I can think of nothing that could exacerbate those struggles more than pretending to live as someone I am not once again, and turning my back on everything I care about and fight for…
“I wish to return home. I want to return to my work — writing, speaking, consulting, and teaching. The idea I hold the keys to my own cell is an absurd one, as I face the prospect of suffering either way due to this unnecessary and punitive subpoena: I can either go to jail or betray my principles. The latter exists as a much worse prison than the government can construct.”