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Chelsea Manning is trying to get out of jail after refusing to testify

Chelsea Manning (Tim Travers Hawkins/Released)
April 02, 2019

Whistle-blower and former U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning is requesting bail this week after nearly a month in jail for contempt of court.

Manning’s legal team submitted a request for bail to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit while they fight to appeal the judge’s contempt order, the Associated Press reported Monday.

Manning’s lawyers argue that her confinement is interfering with her access to medical treatment for her transgenderism.

They had previously requested home confinement instead of jail time, but U.S. District Judge Claude Hilton refused the request and said Manning’s medical care would be carried out by the U.S. Marshals.

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“Although the facility has accommodated Chelsea’s medical needs, including hormone medications and daily post-surgery treatment, keeping her under these [solitary confinement] conditions for over 15 days amounts to torture, possibly in an attempt to coerce her into compliance with the grand Jury,” said a statement from “Chelsea Resists,” Manning’s support committee.

Manning was jailed on March 8 after refusing to testify before a grand jury in a case involving WikiLeaks, and has been held in the Alexandria Detention Center in Virginia.

Hilton said Manning will remain in jail until she agrees to testify or when the grand jury completes its process.

“This is the strongest appeal of a grand jury contempt I have ever seen, and so release ought to be granted. The lower court acted without considering clear legal mandates and this error, including the denial of release, must be corrected in the appellate court,” Manning’s attorney, Moira Meltzer-Cohen, told Sparrow Media.

Manning and her lawyers insist that the government spied on her ahead of her scheduled grand jury testimony, and questions based on information garnered from that surveillance can be legally refused.

Manning cited her opposition to grand juries as her refusal to testify, in addition to claiming she already shared all relevant knowledge during her court-martial. She also claimed that answering the questions violated her Constitutional rights.

“A witness may be civilly confined in order to coerce cooperation with the grand jury, but may not be punished. Since the conditions of her confinement have now become punitive, Ms. Manning contends, the Circuit should order her release,” Sparrow Media contends.

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Last month, Manning told reporters, “Grand juries are terrible tools. The idea that there is an independent grand jury is long gone; it’s run by a prosecutor. […] There is no adversarial process… I am generally opposed to the existence of a grand jury.”

Manning, formerly known as “Bradley,” is the transgender former Army intelligence analyst who leaked more than 700,000 classified documents to WikiLeaks in 2010, making it the largest leak in U.S. history.

Manning was sentenced in 2013 and transitioned shortly after imprisonment.

She served seven years of a 35-year sentence, which was commuted by former President Barack Obama in January 2017, just days before he left office. Manning was released from prison in May 2017.