A federal judge on Monday (22 April) denied a request from Chelsea Manning to be released from jail on bail. The judge further upheld a lower court’s decision to hold Manning in civil contempt for refusing to testify in an investigation about WikiLeaks.
Federal judge Claude M. Hilton originally placed Manning in custody on 8 March.
While the investigation for which Manning was asked to testify remains under seal, she told reporters outside the courthouse it had to do with WikiLeaks.
‘These secret proceedings tend to favor the government,’ she said before the hearing and her jailing. ‘I’m always willing to explain things publicly. I’ve given voluminous testimony; I’ve given voluminous information.’
Manning remains – possibly in solitary confinement
There have been reports that for part of Manning’s jail time, she has been held in solitary confinement.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) called solitary a form of ‘torture’ and demanded Manning be released on bail. Recently, Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg made similar comments about the use of solitary confinement in the prison industrial complex.
According to a screenshot of a statement, Manning is being held in what’s called ‘administrative segregation’. This type of holding can see inmates held in their cells ‘for a maximum of 22 hours a day’.
Dana Lawhorne, the sheriff of Alexandria, Virginia, where Manning is being held, denied these claims.
Manning’s history of whistleblowing
In 2013, the government convicted Manning in a court-martial trial for violations of the Espionage Act when she was an analyst in the United States Army. She disclosed over 700,000 military and diplomatic documents, both classified and unclassified, to WikiLeaks.
Initiated in 2006, WikiLeaks operates in publishing news leaks and secret information from anonymous sources.
Manning received a 35-year prison sentence before President Obama commuted her sentence in 2017.
Authorities also charged WikiLeaks’ founder, Julia Assange, in a separate case that remains under seal. Police arrested him on 11 April in London after he lost his asylum at the Ecuadorian Embassy.