Chelsea Manning back in jail after refusing to testify on WikiLeaks
With Manning refusing to cooperate, U.S. District Judge Claude Hilton ordered she be taken into custody for civil contempt of court following a hearing in Alexandria, Virginia.
“I will not participate in a secret process that I morally object to, particularly one that has been used to entrap and persecute activists for protected political speech,” Manning said in a statement released after she was taken into custody.
Manning’s attorney, Moira Meltzer-Cohen, said her client could face up to 18 months in jail for refusing to cooperate.
Meltzer-Cohen and the rest of the legal team requested that the confinement be carried out at home to accommodate Manning’s ongoing medical needs, but Hilton would not budge on his decision, citing the ability of U.S. marshals to handle her medical care.
“Obviously, prison is a terrible place,” Manning said before the hearing. “I don’t see the purpose to incarcerate people.”
With about 10 protesters gathered in front of the courthouse, Meltzer-Cohen addressed reporters.
“As everybody knows, Chelsea has tremendous courage,” she said. “Our primary concern at this point is her health while she is confined and we will be paying close attention.”
Manning was arrested in 2010 and convicted of espionage, for which she spent more than six years of a 35-year sentence behind bars before being granted clemency by former President Barack Obama.
Since her release from incarceration, Manning has continued making splashes in headlines for everything from unveiling a summertime swimsuit bod in a national magazine to receiving an invitation to be a visiting fellow at Harvard University.
Harvard rescinded that offer shortly after senior fellow and former acting CIA Director Michael Morell announced his resignation from the school.
“Senior leaders in our military have stated publicly that the leaks by Ms. Manning put the lives of U.S. soldiers at risk,” Morell wrote. “I have an obligation to my conscience — and I believe to the country — to stand up against any efforts to justify leaks of sensitive national security information.”
The 31-year-old Manning announced a bid for the U.S. Senate back in January 2018, but lost in a landslide to Ben Cardin.
Her most successful district was Prince George’s County, where she took 6,453 votes — to Cardin’s 99,725.
Prosecutor Tracy McCormick, meanwhile, indicated that Manning could end the detention by testifying, according to the law.
“We hope she changes her mind now,” McCormick said.
Meltzer-Cohen would not comment on whether or not an appeal would be filed.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.