Chelsea Manning will remain imprisoned by the United States after her appeal and request for bail were declined by a federal appeals court. The move comes as the U.S. prepares new charges against Wikileaks editor Julian Assange, with critics claiming that Manning will remain in prison as prosecutors attempt to try and force her to testify.
Chelsea Manning was arrested last month after she refused to testify before a grand jury as part of a U.S. investigation into Julian Assange’s role in Wikileaks publication of classified documents. Assange is accused of conspiring with Chelsea Manning to commit computer intrusion and steal classified data relating to the State Department cables and Iraq and Afghan war logs, published in 2010 by WikiLeaks.
Manning states that given the government spied on her prior to her scheduled grand jury testimony that any questions resulting from that surveillance can be refused, without penalt, before the law. Further, all relevant knowledge of the matter was put on record during her previous court-martial and answering the intended questions would be a violation of her Constitutional rights.
“The court finds no error in the district court’s rulings and affirms its finding of civil contempt”U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit order
The three-judge panel denied Mannings appeal and request for bail. Chelsea Manning’s legal team had previously requested house arrest rather than prison, citing medical needs. This was also previously rejected.
A statement made by Chelsea’s lawyers following the arrest of Assange stated that her detention was unnecessary and merely a punitive measure.
“Compelling Chelsea to testify would have been duplicative of evidence already in the possession of the grand jury, and was not needed in order for U.S. Attorneys to obtain an indictment of Mr. Assange. Since her testimony can no longer contribute to a grand jury investigation, Chelsea’s ongoing detention can no longer be seriously alleged to constitute an attempt to coerce her testimony. As continued detention would be purely punitive, we demand Chelsea be released”Chelsea Manning Lawyers Statement
Julian Assange is currently serving six months in Belmarsh prison for breaching his bail conditions and faces the prospect of being extradited to the United States where prosecutorss are said to be preparing new charges against the Wikileaks editor, potentially including espionage.
Speaking to Sputnik, Kevin Zeese, co-coordinator with Popular Resistance said that the U.S. “are looking forward to putting more charges against Julian Assange, and they need Chelsea Manning’s testimony to do that… It shows that they don’t have the evidence against Assange. They desperately need Chelsea Manning in order to even come up with an indictment”.
Following the ruling, Chelsea Manning stated that she would not give up the fight and accused the U.S. government of abusing the grand jury process.
“We can still raise issues as the government continues to abuse the grand jury process. I don’t have anything to contribute to this, or any other grand jury. While I miss home, they can continue to hold me in jail, with all the harmful consequences that brings. I will not give up.”Chelsea Manning