News (USA)

Chelsea Manning has been released from prison following a suicide attempt

Chelsea Manning
Chelsea ManningPhoto: Tim Travers Hawkins/via Wikipedia

Chelsea Manning, the former Army intelligence analyst who went to prison for leaking secret documents to WikiLeaks, has been released from the Alexandria Detention Center in Virginia following a suicide attempt during her 256 days in confinement.

Though she had spent nearly seven years in prison from 2010 to 2017 for espionage, intelligence theft, and computer fraud, she was returned to prison anew in 2019 after refusing to answer questions in front of a Virginia grand jury related to the release of other documents to Wikileaks.

Related: This is Chelsea Manning as we’ve never seen her before

In his release order issued yesterday, U.S. District Judge Anthony Trenga wrote, “The court finds Ms. Manning’s appearance before the Grand Jury is no longer needed, in light of which her detention no longer serves any coercive purpose.”

Despite ordering her release, Trenga didn’t waive her $1,000 a day punishment for refusing to testify, meaning she’ll now owe around $256,000 following her release.

Last Wednesday, Manning was hospitalized following a suicide attempt. Though she’s reportedly recovering, she had previously said that she would “rather starve to death” than testify to the Grand Jury.

Manning was particularly opposed to testifying because grand juries don’t allow witnesses to have legal representation and because she had already provided information about her connection to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange during her military trial and court marshal in 2010 and 2011.

In a letter Manning sent to Trenga during her 2019 incarceration, she wrote, “I have had these values since I was a child, and I’ve had years of confinement to reflect on them. For much of that time, I depended for survival on my values, my decisions, and my conscience. I will not abandon them now.”

Manning came out as transgender in 2014 during her incarceration at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. While there, she was held in solitary confinement 23-hours a day in a windowless cell with no blanket or pillow. She twice attempted suicide during her stay there, first on July 5, 2016 and then again on October 4, 2016.

Manning was released in May 2017 after then President Barack Obama commuted the remainder of her 35-year sentence.

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