US judge refuses to free WikiLeaks leaker Chelsea Manning

Ruling comes 11 days after the federal court in Alexandria, Virginia unsealed charges against Assange

Afp April 22, 2019
Chelsea Manning, the transgender US Army soldier responsible for a massive leak of classified material, PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON: A US judge kept Chelsea Manning locked up Monday for refusing to testify in the secret grand jury investigation of WikiLeaks, despite its founder Julian Assange having already been charged in the case.

A panel of judges rejected Manning's appeal against her March 8 jailing for contempt after she refused to give testimony in the case, on the grounds that she believes the grand jury system is unfair and used to persecute activists.

Manning "failed to properly address the issue of grand jury abuse" and other issues she raised in her appeal, the judges said in a statement.

The court ruling means Manning will remain locked up in a detention center until she agrees to testify or the grand jury investigation ends.

The ruling came 11 days after the federal court in Alexandria, Virginia unsealed charges against Assange related to his publishing in 2010 hundreds of thousands of secret US war and diplomacy documents and communications that were stolen by Manning.

At the time, she was a US Army intelligence official going by the name Bradley Manning, before she underwent gender reassignment treatment and took the name Chelsea.

In 2013, Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison, but her sentence was commuted in 2017 by president Barack Obama.

In the past two years, the US government has sought to build a case against Assange over his publication of a series of leaks of highly sensitive US intelligence, military and diplomatic materials.

The unsealing of the indictment against him -- originally set more than one year ago -- had suggested that the secret grand jury had completed its work, but Manning's continued incarceration indicates that it is still working.


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