The former US army intelligence analyst, Chelsea Manning, who leaked hundreds of thousands of secret documents to WikiLeaks in 2010 has been released from prison.

A federal judge in Virginia ordered the release of Manning last Thursday after she had been incarcerated since May last year for refusing to testify to a grand jury inquiring about Wikileaks.

32-year-old Manning was found guilty in 2013 of leaking secret military files to Wikileaks, the international non-profit website created by Australian-born Julian Assange that publishes classified media from anonymous sources.

Manning was scheduled to appear before the court on Friday, but Judge Anthony J Trenga ruled that Manning’s appearance and detention were no longer necessary.

“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,” Judge Trenga noted.

Advertisement
Manning did not get off scot-free, receiving more than $250,000USD (AUD 411,103.07) in fines for refusing to co-operate with the inquiry.

Her legal team had asked for these to be erased, but Trenga said that the $256,000 must be paid in full.

Born initially as Bradley Edward Manning, she began her gender transition to a woman in 2010.

After previously working as an intelligence analyst in Iraq, Manning was convicted in 2013 for leaking classified government and military documents to WikiLeaks.

Manning was given a 35-year military sentence, however President Obama commuted her sentence in 2017 before he left office.

During the 2010 to 2017 sentence, Manning attempted suicide twice, mounted a hunger strike and completed her gender reassignment.

However, Manning was jailed again in 2019 for refusing to testify in front of a grand jury investigating WikiLeaks.

After being released approximately two months later when the grand jury’s term expired, she was jailed again a week later for refusing to comply with a second subpoena from the new grand jury.

In 2019, Manning told Judge Trenga in a letter that she objected “to this grand jury … as an effort to frighten journalists and publishers, who serve a crucial public good.”

Advertisement
Despite the coercive purpose behind Manning’s detentions, she proved incoercible and never wavered on her refusal to speak – opting to sooner die than provide information to the United States Government.

Manning endured months of suffering while she was incarcerated, with representatives admitting on the day before her release this year that she had attempted suicide at the Alexandria adult detention centre.

On Wednesday last week, Manning’s representatives said in a statement that she would not betray her principles, even if it meant great harm to herself.

“Her actions today evidence the strength of her convictions, as well as the profound harm she continues to suffer as a result of her ‘civil’ confinement,” the statement read.

The Alexandria detention centre sheriff, Dana Lawhorne, confirmed that the incident “was handled appropriately by our professional staff and Ms Manning is safe”.

No further details were released.

© Star Observer 2020 | For the latest in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) news in Australia, be sure to visit starobserver.com.au daily. You can also read our latest magazines or Join us on our Facebook page and Twitter feed.