Home | About Us | Archive | Documents | Campaigns & Issues | Links | Contact Us

      Free Chelsea Manning!

      By Janine Solanki

      Chelsea Manning has already spent too many years of her life behind bars, for the crime of telling the truth. Today the U.S. judicial system is taking away her freedom once again because she has stood up against injustice.

      Who is Chelsea Manning?

      Chelsea Manning is best known as a former U.S. military intelligence analyst and whistleblower. At great personal risk, she leaked U.S. diplomatic cables as well as videos and documents which have become known as the Afghan War Diary and the Iraq War Logs. Published on the whistleblower site Wikileaks, they further exposed U.S. war crimes around the world including mass killings, torture, corruption, and the attempted cover-up of U.S. atrocities. For telling the truth and acting upon her conscience, in May 2010 Chelsea Manning was arrested, imprisoned, and held in solitary confinement for the first 10 months as well as at various points throughout her imprisonment. Chelsea Manning served seven years of a 35-year jail term, during which she also had to fight for her rights as a trans woman and for access to medical care related to her transition. Former President Barack Obama commuted her sentence, and she was released from prison on May 17, 2017.

      Why is Chelsea in jail now?

      “I will not participate in a secret process that I morally object to, particularly one that has been used to entrap and persecute activists for protected political speech.”
      - Chelsea Manning, from a statement released after she was taken into custody.

      On March 8, 2019, Chelsea Manning was jailed for refusing to testify to a grand jury investigating WikiLeaks. In a hearing, she asserted that answering questions before the grand jury would violate her constitutional and statutory rights. Without addressing Chelsea Manning’s arguments, District Court Judge Claude Hilton ordered her confined for the term of the grand jury, or until she agrees to give testimony.

      For 28 days she was held in so-called “administrative segregation”, effectively solitary confinement. She was held in her cell for 22 hours a day, not allowed out of her cell while other prisoners were out, not allowed to visit the law library and not allowed access to books or reading materials. She was only permitted to make phone calls and move about outside her cell between 1 and 3 am.

      International bodies have defined solitary confinement as torture, and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, Juan E Mendez, has defined prolonged solitary confinement as a period over 15 days during which the harmful psychological effects of isolation can become irreversible. This is what Chelsea Manning has endured. This inhumane and brutal treatment is an attempt to coerce her into testifying in the grand jury, and to punish her for refusing to do so.

      What now? Free Chelsea Manning!

      Since her arrest, Chelsea Manning’s support committee “Chelsea Resists!” has sprung to action in her defense. The first battle to release Chelsea Manning from solitary confinement has been won, and supporters are now fighting for Chelsea Manning to be released from jail. Chelsea Manning’s support committee is asking for donations for her legal defense, which can be made at:

      You can also write to Chelsea Manning – this is not only her fight but a fight for all peace and justice loving people. While she is leading this struggle from behind bars, supporters can let her know that people around the world are standing with her! For guidelines on what and how to send mail to Chelsea Manning, visit Chelsea Resists! at https://xychelsea.is

      Most importantly, it is vital that Chelsea Manning’s case is known, and for more people to take on this case. Chelsea Manning is not only defending herself but defending the right of activists and anyone to not participate in secret trials. You can visit Chelsea Resists! website https://xychelsea.is for statements to share on your social media, and on Twitter follow @ResistsChelsea and @xychelsea for the latest developments in her case. You can also sign a petition demanding her immediate release, at http://bit.ly/2XPiZ3x

      Free Chelsea Manning now!

      Follow Janine on Twitter: @janinesolanki

      Back to Article Listing