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Whistleblower Chelsea Manning

Whistleblower Chelsea Manning was released from jail Thursday after attempting to take her own life Wednesday. (Photo: xychelsea/Twitter)

After Chelsea Manning Released From Jail, Supporters Fundraise to Pay Off Her $256,000 in Legal Fines

"No one should get tortured and fined hundreds of thousands of dollars, without even getting charged with a crime, for standing up for their rights."

Jessica Corbett

Thousands of people have contributed to a GoFundMe campaign launched by a friend of U.S. Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning, who was released from jail Thursday and faces over a quarter million dollars in legal fines for her refusal to testify to a grand jury about WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Federal Judge Anthony Trenga ordered Manning's immediate release less than 24 hours after she was hospitalized for attempting suicide. While welcoming that decision, some of Manning's supporters pointed out that Trenga also ordered Manning to pay the $256,000 in fines she has accrued.

Manning's friend Kelly Wright, who was the communications director for the whistleblower's 2018 U.S. Senate bid, set up the fundraiser with the aim of fully covering the court-imposed fines. As of press time, more than 2,300 donors had collectively given over $93,400 to the effort.

Supporters of Manning raised awareness about the fundraiser on Twitter, decrying both the fines and Manning's yearlong detention, which United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer denounced last year as "an open-ended, progressively severe coercive measure amounting to torture."

The fundraiser has grown in popularity since Thursday as critics continued to sound off about the U.S. government's treatment of Manning, who was jailed at the William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center in Alexandria, Virginia for most of the past year for not testifying against Assange, who is imprisoned in London while he fights the U.S. government's attempt to extradite him.

Manning's detention in Virginia since March 2019 came after she was released from prison in May 2017 because outgoing President Barack Obama had commuted all but four months of the 35-year sentence she was serving for leaking classified materials and government records to WikiLeaks.

Along with the GoFundMe campaign launched by Wright, there is an ongoing fundraiser on the Action Network to cover Manning's "legal fees, and legal costs such as court transcripts and travel, and commissary."

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and the Crisis Text Line is 741741. Both offer 24/7, free, and confidential support.

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