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This seems to boil down to a disagreement on coercive versus punitive, or more cynically, whether or not you happen to agree with Manning. The court already has an escape clause in place by capping the punishment at 18 months. Manning appears to be seeking that contempt of court be abolished altogether, leaving no way to compel witnesses to testify. All they would need to do is declare "I will not testify, you cannot make me, nothing will change my mind!" and they are let go. Independent of my opinion on Manning's situation, I am not sure that precedent is a net positive. If the punishment were indefinite, it would be a more interesting case. But since it is capped already, I tend to side with the court and let the clock run out.

There are other variables:

I'd agree with you much more if Manning hadn't already been tried and served time for the Wikileaks case.

I also think 18 months is far more punitive than coercive. If it was a month, which is a terribly long time to be confined in a cage, I'd find it more acceptable.

As it stands, 18 months is longer than many people serve for violent crimes. And this person already stood trial and was already imprisoned for this same case.

I'm not sure what the proper length of time is, and I imagine there are as many answers as there are people. 18 months is a long time, for sure, but not unprecedented. There's a guy who has been sitting in jail for more than three years (IIRC) for refusing to decrypt evidence that might result in his conviction. His case has far fewer champions than Manning's, due to the nature of the charges, but he does have some people advocating on his behalf. As far as I know, there is no cap on the length of time he will spend in jail on contempt. He's also looking at a lengthy prison sentence if convicted, so his motivations are more personal.

Precedent... we have precedent for enslavement and pillory. That doesn't make it OK.

In terms of the guy sitting in jail for 3 years. I've heard of that. I strongly feel he should be released or tried on existing evidence (no need to violate the 5th). Two wrongs don't make a right.

The original comment we are answering seems to be correct:

> This shows the whole world how hopeless the US injustice system is. None of this would be possible in a civilized country.

Civilized being defined as the rule of law... it seems he is correct, as the proceedings against manning seem to violate the laws (both the 5th as well as double jeopardy)

Precedent, other things being worse... those don't address the original argument: this is America's barbarism. The example of the guy sitting in jail in-definitively seems to only support this perception, not detract from it. Of course, you are free to perceive it as you like. Some things we'll never agree on. :)

> Manning appears to be seeking that contempt of court be abolished altogether

Manning actually has explicitly stated that she wishes the grand jury process (not merely the ability to compel testimony for that process) to be abolished completely; it is not clear that she feels contempt sanctions and compulsory testimony are improper outside of the grand jury context.

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