After nearly a month in jail, living in conditions that the United Nations would likely consider to be torturous, Chelsea Manning is seeking her release.
Manning, a soldier-turned-activist who spent three years in confinement and four years in military prison for leaking government documents to WikiLeaks in 2010, filed a motion to be released from the Virginia jail where she’s been locked up since March 6 as punishment for refusing to testify about WikiLeaks before a grand jury, the Associated Press reports.
“This issue is not frivolous,” reads the motion, per legal blog Lawfare. “[Manning] is not a flight risk or a danger. Furthermore, she is being impermissibly punished in the absence of due process. Thus, Ms. Manning’s request for bail pending the determination of this appeal should be granted. Counsel respectfully submits that the issue of release can be determined without remand.”
The motion, filed by Manning’s lawyers on her behalf, says that Manning’s legal team is trying to appeal the judge’s order that she testify before the grand jury and that she should be granted bail while that appeal is being made. It also says that her current living conditions, which her supporters claim amount to sustained solitary confinement, make it difficult for her to keep up with her “daily post-surgery medical needs,” presumably post-sex reassignment surgery dilation.
Manning’s legal team is optimistic that her request for bail will be granted.
“This is the strongest appeal of a grand jury contempt I have ever seen,” Manning’s attorney, Moira Meltzer-Cohen, tells the Sparrow Project. “[R]elease ought to be granted The lower court acted without considering clear legal mandates and this error, including the denial of release, must be corrected in the appellate court.”