The whistleblower and activist is being held over her refusal to testify in the Wikileaks case
Chelsea Manning, former military intelligence analyst, activist, and recent Dazed cover star, has called for her release from prison saying that she’ll never testify in the Wikileaks case against her. Manning has been incarcerated in Alexandria, Virginia for the past two months for her refusal to testify to the grand jury.
The whistleblower has already challenged her imprisonment to the federal appeals court in Richmond, only to have it rejected last month by a three-judge panel. Manning has now filed an official motion challenging her incarceration on the grounds that she’ll never testify.
“At this point, given the sacrifices she has already made, her strong principles, her strong and growing support community, and the disgrace attendant to her capitulation, it is inconceivable that Chelsea Manning will ever change her mind about her refusal to cooperate with the grand jury,” her lawyers wrote in a statement on Monday.
Manning doubles down on this message in her own statement: “I can – without any hesitation – state that nothing that 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 This experience so far only proves my long held belief that grand juries are simply outdated tools used by the federal government to harass and disrupt political opponents and activists in fishing expeditions”.
Current state law dictates that witnesses can be incarcerated if there is a chance they can be coerced into giving evidence, but should a judge rule that Manning is unlikely to do so, her imprisonment could be considered as punitive and she would be set free.
Dazed previously gathered messages of support, love, and resistance for Chelsea from fellow activists that she has worked alongside, and who are influenced by her work. “I will never cease to be in awe of Chelsea’s bravery and commitment to her principles," Janus Rose, an ally of Manning’s, previously told Dazed. “In the entire time I’ve known her, she has consistently stood up against injustice and spoken truth to power, even at great cost to herself. It’s time for the government to end this obsessive fishing expedition so that Chelsea can heal from the years of trauma it has already inflicted on her.”
Manning was arrested in Iraq in 2010 after hacker Adrian Lamo informed the FBI that she has leaked classified information to the public – hundreds of thousands of documents detailing unreported US killings of Afghani civilians – and sentenced to 35 years imprisonment in 2013. President Obama exonerated Manning in 2017 saying that she had already served “a tough prison sentence.”
Prosecutors are yet to respond to her most recent motion.
You can read Dazed’s coverage of Manning here.