Chelsea Manning’s legal team said Thursday that the indictment against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange proves that the contempt charge keeping her in jail should be vacated.
Assange was arrested on Thursday by British authorities at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he’d been living for almost seven years. The U.S. government has issued a request to extradite Assange to face charges that he conspired with Manning to commit computer crimes.
“The indictment against Julian Assange unsealed today was obtained a year to the day before Chelsea appeared before the grand jury and refused to give testimony,” Manning’s lawyers said in a press release.
Manning was imprisoned in March and held in solitary confinement for almost a month.
Her attorneys added that “compelling Chelsea to testify would have been duplicative of evidence already in the possession of the grand jury, and was not needed in order for US Attorneys to obtain an indictment of Mr. Assange.”
Manning admitted to leaking over 725,000 classified documents to WikiLeaks after finishing her deployment to Iraq in 2009.
“Grand Juries may not be used for the sole and dominant purpose of preparing for trial, including questioning potential trial witnesses," her lawyer said. "Since her testimony can no longer contribute to a grand jury investigation, Chelsea’s ongoing detention can no longer be seriously alleged to constitute an attempt to coerce her testimony. As continued detention would be purely punitive, we demand Chelsea be released.”
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