A year in jail & quarter million fine since, lawyers seek freedom for Chelsea Manning refusing to testify against WikiLeaks
Manning’s incarceration has “exceeded its lawful scope” by moving from being a coercive tactic to a criminal punishment, her lawyer Moira Meltzer-Cohen said in a motion requesting her release filed on Friday.
Manning was jailed in March of 2019 for refusing to testify before a grand jury investigating WikiLeaks. She has been held at the Alexandria Detention Center in Virginia since then and fined $1,000 a day for refusing to cooperate. Her fines now total $230,000.
In the new motion, Manning made clear that she still refuses to testify, since she does not believe in grand juries and claims they are used to “harass and disrupt political opponents and activists through secrecy, coercion, and jailing without trial.”Also on rt.com ‘Doctors for Assange’ worry he may die in UK prison having ‘effectively been tortured to death’
Manning’s attorney says her client’s continued refusal to testify makes keeping her behind bars unlawful because “the only permissible purpose for sanctions under the civil contempt statute is to coerce a witness to comply with the subpoena.” Since Manning refuses to testify and cannot be coerced, Meltzer-Cohen argues there is no lawful reason to imprison her.
Manning can be held for up to 18 months, or until the grand jury has concluded their work.
The legal motion includes a personality assessment from Dr. Sara Boyd, who argues that Manning is incapable of acting against her conscience, as well as a letter from UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer, concluding that coercive confinement is “torture” and violates international law.
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