Chelsea Manning ordered back to jail for contempt

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Chelsea Manning speaks to the press ahead of a grand jury appearance about WikiLeaks, in Alexandria, Virginia, on May 16, 2019Image source, AFP
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Chelsea Manning told the judge she would "rather starve" than testify

US former intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning has been ordered back to prison after again refusing to testify before an inquiry into Wikileaks.

Manning, 31, was remanded in custody for contempt of court after refusing to give evidence to a grand jury, her legal team said.

She was released from jail last week after serving a two-month sentence for an earlier refusal to testify.

Before Thursday's hearing she made it clear that she would still not testify.

"I'm not going to comply with this grand jury," she told reporters outside the court in Alexandria, Virginia.

Once in court she told the judge she would "rather starve to death than to change my opinions in this regard", the Washington Post reported.

US District Court Judge Anthony Trenga ordered that Manning be remanded in custody and fined $500 (£390) a day after 30 days if she still refuses to testify, rising to $1,000 after 60 days.

She will remain in custody until she agrees to testify or until the term of the grand jury expires in 18 months, according to the Post.

"There's nothing dishonourable in discharging your responsibility as a US citizen," Judge Trenga told her.

Speaking after the hearing, a member of Manning's legal team, Moira Meltzer-Cohen, said they were "disappointed" with the judge's decision, adding: " I suspect this sanction of further incarceration will be exactly as coercive as the previous sanction, which is to say not at all."

Manning was found guilty in 2013 of charges including espionage for leaking secret military files to Wikileaks, but her sentence was commuted in 2017 by then US President Barack Obama.

She has refused to answer further questions about Wikileaks from investigators because she says she has already given her testimony during the 2013 trial.

"The goal here is really to relitigate the court-martial," Manning said outside court on Thursday. "They didn't like the outcome - I got out."

US prosecutors have been investigating Wikileaks for years. They are currently seeking the extradition of Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange from the UK over his alleged role in the release of classified military and diplomatic material in 2010.

Australian-born Assange faces a charge of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion in the US. He is accused of participating in one of the largest ever leaks of government secrets which could result in a prison term of up to five years.