Whistleblower Chelsea Manning has been jailed for refusing to testify before a secret grand jury investigating WikiLeaks, saying she objects to the process and that she already revealed what she knows on the subject during her 2013 court-martial.
The anti-secrecy advocate and former Army intelligence analyst was sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking classified military intelligence records to the website, but her sentence was commuted by former President Barack Obama in 2017, after seven years imprisonment.
U.S. District Judge Claude Hilton told Manning she would remain in federal custody “until she purges or the end of the life of the grand jury,” according to a statement from her representatives, which could take up to 18 months, according to one of her lawyers, reports ABC.
Manning was subpoenaed in late January, and has said she would not cooperate with the grand jury, objecting both to the secrecy, as well as to the fact that her lawyers would not be able to be with her during her testimony, she called the process “terrible, to say the least,” and argued it favors prosecutors.
“The idea that there is such a thing as an independent grand jury is long gone,” she told reporters on Tuesday.
In a statement from earlier this week, Manning said she was “prepared to face the consequences” of refusing to answer the panel’s questions.
“A judge will consider the legal grounds for my refusal to answer questions in front of a grand jury. The court may find me in contempt, and order me to jail.”
An attorney for Manning, Moira Meltzer-Cohen (below, at right), said they will likely appeal the order.
“Grand juries operate in secret, allowing the government to retaliate against activists and dissidents behind closed doors,” the Chelsea Resists! support committee said in a statement, according to NBC.
“Donald Trump and his administration have publicly declared their disdain for Chelsea, and for President Obama’s decision to commute her sentence,” the Chelsea Resists! statement said. “Chelsea has stood by the testimony from her 2013 court-martial, and this subpoena serves no legitimate purpose. It is a punitive effort to reverse Obama’s legacy, exposing Chelsea to legal hardship and possible imprisonment.