Chelsea Manning’s lawyers file an appeal against her detention

A picture of Chelsea Manning standing in front of a fence and raising her fist.
Bryan Wall

Chelsea’s Manning’s legal team have filed an appeal on her behalf. They’ve asked that the fourth circuit court order her release from detention.

On 8 March, Manning refused to testify in front of a grand jury about Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. Judge Claude Hilton found that Manning was in contempt of court and ordered her jailed. Manning will walk free when she either chooses to testify or the grand jury finishes its work. As a result, Manning could be held in jail for a further 18 months.

Considering the evidence

Her support group Chelsea Resists! published a statement about the appeal. It said that her legal team are basing the appeal on three issues. Firstly, it said:

Judge Hilton denied Chelsea’s motion asking the government to disclose the existence of any unlawful surveillance without actually considering the evidence.

This is important, it argued, because “evidence derived from unlawful surveillance may not be used in a grand jury”.

Secondly, it claimed judge Hilton did not get assurances that the government’s subpoenaing of Manning was “properly motivated”. Chelsea Resists! said:

Prosecutors may not use the grand jury for the primary purpose of preparing for trial of an already-secured indictment. Chelsea raised concerns that the government did not need her testimony to further their investigation, and that rather they intended to use the subpoena to preview and perhaps undermine any testimony she might give at trial for an already-pending indictment.

It said this is “an abuse of process” which would void the initial subpoena. It argued that the judge “did not consider the facts or the law on this motion”.

Constitutional violations

Thirdly, Chelsea Resists! points to the issue of the grand jury violating Manning’s constitutional right to a public hearing. Furthermore, her support group argued that:

the Government has not given any good reasons for keeping the proceedings secret.

Because of this, it:

hope[s] at the very least that the Fourth Circuit will release her during the appeal process

Continued detention

For now, the US government is still holding Manning in detention. As The Canary previously reported, her support group has also accused the government of torturing her. According to Chelsea Resists!, prison authorities confine Manning to her cell for 22 hours a day. It says that “this treatment qualifies as Solitary Confinement” which “amounts to torture” when maintained for over 15 days.

In its latest statement, it also said that this confinement:

is especially egregious given that Chelsea has not been charged with or convicted of a crime.

The US government previously held Manning in solitary confinement from May 2010 to April 2011.

Featured image via WikiMedia Commons – Manolo Luna

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