Whistleblower Chelsea Manning freed after spending 62 days in jail

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Former US soldier and whistleblower Chelsea Manning was freed from jail on Thursday after spending about two months in judicial custody for refusing to testify about her disclosure of military and diplomatic secrets to WikiLeaks in 2010.

CNN cited a statement issued by her legal team saying that she could return to jail soon as her lawyers indicated that she would again refuse to testify in response to a separate subpoena.

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Manning, who had earlier served nearly seven years in prison for the massive leak, objected to the questioning in a court appearance in March that was apparently part of a continued effort by federal prosecutors investigating WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

The whistleblower was subsequently held in contempt, and a federal appeals court rejected her argument for release — that her rights were violated by the subpoena proceedings and the federal prosecutors purportedly seeking to entrap her — in April.

Manning was released from the William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center in Alexandria, Virginia, on Thursday after 62 days because the jury that had demanded her testimony was no longer sitting, her legal team said.

The second subpoena would have her appear before a different grand jury next week, “but for (the) same questions,” according to a tweet posted on Manning’s Twitter account on Thursday night.

“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,” the statement read.

“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 Center, possibly as soon as next Thursday, May 16,” it added.

Manning had formally asked the court to release her earlier this month, saying “nothing will convince me to testify,” according to documents filed in the Eastern District of Virginia court. Representatives for Manning had previously said she was kept in her cell for 22 hours a day, arguing that such solitary confinement threatened her health and amounted to “torture”, CNN reported.


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