Government whistleblower and transgender activist Chelsea Manning has asked a court to release her from prison, two weeks after federal judges denied her appeal to overturn an order finding her in contempt for refusing to testify before a grand jury.
Lambasting grand juries as “outdated tools that are used by the federal government to harass and disrupt political opponents and activists,” Manning asserted in an affidavit filed by her attorneys in the Eastern District of Virginia on Monday that “nothing will convince me to testify.”
The former Army intelligence analyst was sentenced on March 8 to an indefinite time behind bars after she refused to answer questions before a grand jury about her 2010 disclosure of sensitive documents to WikiLeaks.
Manning, who’d already served about seven years in prison for the leak, argued that she’d shared all relevant information during her court-martial. She also raised ethical objections to the grand jury system — a point she reiterated in this week’s affidavit.
“After two months of confinement, and using every legal mechanism available so far, I can — without any hesitation — state that nothing will convince me to testify before this or any other grand jury for that matter,” said Manning, who spent the first 28 days of her recent imprisonment in solitary confinement.
“I believe this grand jury seeks to undermine the integrity of public discourse with the aim of punishing those who expose any serious, ongoing, and systemic abuses of power by this government, as well as the rest of the international community,” she added.
As CNN noted, prosecutors have refused to explain why they’re now seeking Manning’s testimony, saying only that they’re conducting an ongoing investigation.
The U.S. is currently seeking the extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange over the massive Manning leak. Last week, Assange, who is behind bars in Britain, declined to consent to extradition to the U.S.