Chelsea Manning released after being jailed for contempt in Wikileaks case

The release may be short lived, though, as federal prosecutors want Manning to appear before a new grand jury for the same questions as soon as next week.

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By Doha Madani

Former Army intelligence officer Chelsea Manning was released from jail on Thursday after months in custody for refusing to testify before a federal grand jury in Virginia looking into the release of documents to Wikileaks.

Manning was released now that the grand jury's term has expired. A tweet from Manning's Twitter account announced the news, which the Alexandria Detention Center confirmed to NBC News. Manning has been serving time for civil contempt for 62 days.

The release may be short lived, however, since federal prosecutors have asked Manning to appear before another grand jury for the same questions as soon as May 16, according to the tweet.

U.S. District Judge Claude Hilton told Manning in March that she would remain in federal custody “until she purges or the end of the life of the grand jury."

A Richmond appellate court in April unanimously denied an appeal by Manning. In a motion arguing for her release, Manning wrote she's refusing to cooperate with the grand jury because it "seeks to undermine the integrity of public discourse with the aim of punishing those who expose ... abuses of power by this government."

While Manning has been in custody, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange was arrested in London on one count of "conspiracy to commit computer intrusion for agreeing to break a password to a classified U.S. government computer," according to the indictment by the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison.

Prosecutors say the password was being sought by Chelsea Manning, who provided Assange with a trove of secret government documents that Wikileaks published in 2010 — "one of the largest compromises of classified information in the history of the United States," according to the indictment.