Chelsea Manning jailed again after refusing to testify

WASHINGTON

A week after being released, former Army intelligence analyst and whistleblower Chelsea Manning is headed back to jail Thursday after again refusing to testify before a grand jury.

At a hearing in a federal court in Virginia, Judge Anthony Trenga ordered Manning to remain incarcerated at the Alexandria Detention Center until she agrees to testify or until the grand jury’s term expires in 18 months, according to multiple reports.

He also said she would be fined $500 a day after 30 days if she still refuses to testify, which would increase to $1,000 a day after 60 days, the Associated Press reported.

“Grand juries and prosecutions like this one function to undermine the system of American government, according to the American government’s own laws,” Manning’s lawyer, Moira Meltzer-Cohen, told reporters after the hearing.

Manning was previously sentenced to 35 years in a military prison for leaking classified information to the public but served seven years before former President Barack Obama commuted the remainder of her sentence shortly before he left office in 2017.

U.S. authorities allege that Manning conspired with former WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to download classified databases and release sensitive national security information online.

She was ordered to jail in March this year after failing to comply with a grand jury probe of the anti-secrecy Wikileaks website and was subsequently released after 62 days because the term for the grand jury that demanded her testimony expired, according to Manning’s legal team.

Although she will now be returning to jail, she remains defiant, saying it “doesn’t change my stance”.

“I will not cooperate with this or any other grand jury,” she said at a news conference before her hearing.

Manning told the judge that she would rather “starve to death” than cooperate with prosecutors, according to multiple reports.

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