Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Tuesday demanded the release of U.S. Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning and called for a ban on extended solitary confinement.
“Chelsea Manning has been trapped in solitary confinement for refusing to answer questions before a Grand Jury,” tweeted the congresswoman from New York. “Solitary confinement is torture. Chelsea is being tortured for whistleblowing, she should be released on bail, and we should ban extended solitary in the U.S.”
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Chelsea Resists, Manning’s support committee, thanked Ocasio-Cortez for calling attention to Manning’s situation:
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Manning—who served seven years in prison for releasing a trove of classified documents to Wikileaks—has been detained in solitary confinement in a Virginia jail for nearly four weeks for refusing to answer questions before a grand jury.
On Monday, Manning’s lawyers filed a motion with a federal appeals court in Richmond, Virginia, demanding her release on bail.
“Ms. Manning’s conditions of confinement must either be modified so as not to constitute punishment or she must be released,” said Manning’s attorneys. “Since the jail cannot turn back the clock on punishment that has already occurred, her confinement in [administrative segregation] in excess of 15 days already constitutes an incurable due process violation. She must therefore be released.”
Ocasio-Cortez’s tweet demanding Manning’s release came after the congresswoman delivered a broad defense of whistleblowers during a House Oversight Committee hearing on Tuesday—just a day after a White House whistleblower accused the Trump administration of overturning more than two dozen security clearance denials.
“We have a unique responsibility to protect those that have the courage to come out and say when something is wrong, regardless of the administration,” the congresswoman said. “It doesn’t matter the party. When something is going wrong in government—when there is overreach, when there’s an abuse, or a misconduct of process—we have an obligation to see and investigate it.”
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