Lawyers for Chelsea Manning, the U.S. Army whistleblower imprisoned for leaking classified documents that revealed secret details of the United States’s military empire, will be better prepared for an upcoming appeal of her sentence after an ongoing, highly successful fundraising campaign.
Manning leaked hundreds of thousands of documents to WikiLeaks in 2010, revealing the inner workings of American diplomacy and warfare. Her leak included “Collateral Murder,” a video showing U.S. helicopters firing on and killing a group of people that included two Reuters journalists and a family of bystanders that attempted to rescue the victims. After the government subjected Manning to solitary confinement and other conditions many argue were torture, a military court convicted her of violating the Espionage Act and sentenced her to 35 years in prison in August 2013. She is currently serving her sentence at an Army installation at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
The alleged mistreatment is at the heart of an upcoming appeal of her conviction, but Manning and her supporters first needed to raise funds to mount a credible legal defense. Manning began tweeting in April, and later that month she tweeted a link where supporters could donate to her legal aid fund. Her appeal raised $40,000, but this fell far short of the needed amount.