Chelsea Manning has been released from a Virginia jail after spending 62 days behind bars for her refusal to testify about her role in the WikiLeaks scandal, her legal team announced on Friday.
However, she may not be free for long.
While Manning was released from jail after the grand jury’s term expired on Thursday, her lawyers say they have already been served another subpoena, meaning she could return to police custody by next week if she continues to refuse to appear before a grand jury on May 17, according to a report on Manning’s official Twitter account.
“Chelsea will continue to refuse to answer questions, and will use every available legal defense to prove to District Judge Trenga that she has just cause for her refusal to give testimony,” her lawyers said.
** Feds released Chelsea a few hours ago after Grand Jury expired – @EDVAnews prosecutors subpoenaed her to appear a 2nd time for a different grand jury – but for same questions – on May 16th – official statement from her pending https://t.co/BkXDxnrLmZ— Chelsea E. Manning (@xychelsea) May 10, 2019
Manning has remained steadfast in her refusal to answer any questions regarding her ties to WikiLeaks, and was taken into custody on March 8 for contempt. Her lawyers contend the jail time is merely a judicial tactic to force her into cooperating with authorities.
A motion filed by her legal team to have her freed from jail last month was rejected by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. Shortly after being taken into custody in March, U.S. District Judge Claude Hilton insisted Manning would remain behind bars “until she purges” information regarding her role in the WikiLeaks scandal. One of Manning’s attorneys filed another motion on Monday in an effort to prevent further jail time.
Manning was a soldier in the U.S. Army who leaked roughly 750,000 classified and sensitive military documents to WikiLeaks. She was court-martialed in 2013 and convicted of violations of the Espionage Act and was imprisoned from 2010 to 2017. Her 35-year sentence was eventually commuted by former President Barack Obama, however her continued refusal to testify against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange led to her most recent 62-day incarceration.
She was deployed in Iraq back in 2009 as a U.S. Army intelligence analyst, and had access to a classified database called CIDNE, which includes documents ranging from detainee profiles to military reports.
The leaker-turned-activist says her refusal to testify before a grand jury is an act of protest against the “entrapment and persecution (of) activists for protected political speech.”
Meanwhile, Assange was arrested last month after seeking asylum for the past seven years at the Ecuadorian embassy in London. The Wikileaks founder declined voluntary extradition to the U.S. in a recent court appearance in the U.K.
Manning’s legal team says she will be releasing a statement soon regarding her release.