In Brief

Chelsea Manning released on judge’s order

Ex-army analyst's legal team says she attempted suicide this week

Former US Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning has been released from prison.

Manning, who leaked hundreds of thousands of documents and diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks in 2010, had been held since May 2019 when she was taken back into custody for refusing to testify to a grand jury investigating the pro-transparency organisation.

Explaining her refusal, she had told the judge: “I have had these values since I was a child, and I've had years of confinement to reflect on them. For much of that time, I depended for survival on my values, my decisions, and my conscience. I will not abandon them now.”

The Intercept, an investigative news site says that has campaigned on her behalf, said she had faced “a year of torturous treatment” in prison.

Her release order on Thursday came shortly after her legal team said she had tried to commit suicide and was recovering in hospital. The Daily Mail says was found in her jail cell where she had attempted to hang herself with a bed sheet.

Police confirmed there was “an incident” involving Manning at the detention centre in Virginia on Wednesday afternoon. “It was handled appropriately by our professional staff and [she] is safe,” a police statement said.

The former intelligence analyst completed several tours of Iraq during her country’s military operations there, when she was known as Bradley Manning.

However, in early 2010, after becoming - in her own words - “beyond frustrated with people and society at large”, she made contact with WikiLeaks and Assange in order to leak military and diplomatic documents relating to US military activity.

Many of the leaked documents contradicted official reports, especially in relation to civilian casualties, and their release contributed to the Arab Spring uprisings of 2011.

She was convicted in 2013 for leaking to WikiLeaks millions of State Department cables and a classified video of a US helicopter firing on civilians and journalists in Iraq in 2007.

Her sentence was commuted by former President Barack Obama and she served about seven years in military prison until her release in May 2017. In 2014, Manning, who was born male, sued the US Department of Defense, claiming it was refusing to give her medical treatment for gender dysphoria.

She tried to commit suicide on at least two occasions and went on hunger strike before being granted hormone therapy.

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