Chelsea Manning has been released from prison
Whistleblower Chelsea Manning was released from prison, two months after been jailed for contempt of court for refusing to testify about Wikileaks in front of a grand jury.
Manning was released from Alexandria Detention Center, Virginia, on Thursday (May 9), a message posted to her official Twitter account read.
“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,” her lawyers said in a statement quoted by the BBC.
“Chelsea will continue to refuse to answer questions.”
— Chelsea Manning’a lawyers
Her ordeal is far from over, however, as prosecutors subpoenaed her to appear in front of a second—different—grand jury on May 16, where she is expected to be asked the same questions she refused to answer in March, which led to her recent incarceration.
“Chelsea will continue to refuse to answer questions, and will use every available legal defence to prove… that she has just cause for her refusal to give testimony,” the lawyers said.
What links Chelsea Manning to Wikileaks and Julian assange?
Manning was a US soldier deployed as a junior intelligence analyst in Iraq when she uploaded more than 700,000 confidential government documents to Wikileaks in 2010.
The intelligence leak was one of the largest in US history and revealed several instance of alleged war crimes and rights abuses committed by American soldiers.
Manning was arrested in 2010, trialed and convicted by court martial to 35 years in prison after being found guilty of 20 charges related to the leak in 2013.
President Barack Obama commuted her sentence during his last week in office in 2017, and Manning—who had come out as a trans woman and sued the US Army for her right to transition while behind bars—was released in May that year.
She has since become an activist on issues related to LGBT+ community and privacy and transparency in government. She motivated her refusal to testify about Wikileaks in front of the grand jury because she objected to the secrecy of the process.
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While Manning was in jail, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange claimed political asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in 2010, violating his bail to avoid extradition to Sweden where he’d have had to face rape charges.
He had originally offered to surrender himself to authorities if President Obama freed Chelsea Manning, but did not follow through with that intent because she would not be released immediately.
He only left the embassy under arrest of the British authorities in April after Ecuadorian president Lenin Moreno decided the Wikileaks boss had “repeatedly violated” the terms of his stay.
Assange is currently held in jail in the UK, while Sweden is due to announce on May 13 whether authorities will reopen a preliminary investigation into the rape allegation against him—which he denies. The US is his seeking extradition in relation to charges of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion.