After a two month stay for refusing to testify to a grand jury, former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning has been released. The report of her release from a northern Virginia jail came on Thursday.
Manning spent a total of 62 days, on civil contempt charges, in the Alexandria Detention Center. She had refused to answer any questions that were put to her by a federal grand jury in their ongoing investigation into WikiLeaks.
The release came about due solely in the fact that the grand jury's term had expired. However, Mannings lawyers stated they feared her new freedom may very well end up being short lived. Upon leaving the jail, Manning was presented with yet another subpoena that demanded she appears for testimony on May 16th in front of a new grand jury.
Manning's lawyers have stated that she intends to refuse yet again to answer any questions put before her, and as a result, could once again find herself behind bars.
Manning has already served seven years in a military prison until then President Barack Obama chose to commute the remaining 35 years remaining on her sentence. She had been jailed for having leaked a multitude of documents to WikiLeaks.
Earlier this week lawyers for Manning filed an argument that she should not be re-jailed for civil contempt. Their logic was that she has already proven she will stick to her principles, and will not testify no matter how much jail time she has to serve.
Federal law dictates that a witness can only be jailed on civil contempt is the jailing shows a chance of coercing the witness into testifying. If Manning’s continued jailing is viewed by a judge as punitive rather than coercive, then Manning would most probably not be jailed again.
In an eight-page statement filed with the court on Monday, Manning outlined her resolve in the situation. She stated “cooperation with this grand jury is simply not an option. Doing so would mean throwing away all of my principles, accomplishments, sacrifices, and erase decades of my reputation—an obvious impossibility.” Her lawyers also stated that at this point, given what she has already been through, it is pretty much a given that she would be changing her mind about cooperating with the grand jury.
She also included that she was suffering in jail, but to physical problems that are related to the inadequate follow-up care of her gender-reassignment surgery.
So, what’s the verdict—you decide.
Is Chelsea Manning’s incarceration more punitive than coercive at this point in time?