Whistleblower Chelsea Manning has been released from jail on Thursday, following months in detention for “contempt” after she refused to testify before a grand jury investigating WikiLeaks. The official reason is that the mandate of the grand jury in question has expired.
This explanation is likely a bit of legal sleight of hand on the court’s part, as Manning’s lawyers argued earlier this week that since she never intends to testify, she should be released. The law only allow contempt detentions if there is a possibility it will coerce testimony.
This would be a potentially tough pill for the courts to swallow as a legal precedent, and releasing her for some other reason would save them having to admit that they didn’t have a basis to keep holding her.
With a new grand jury coming, and also seeking Manning’s testimony, however, her attorneys warn that this might be a very brief release, only for some other court to find her in contempt again, and defer the question of just how long the US can detain somebody for not testifying.
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