Whistleblower Chelsea Manning is being held in jail after refusing to testify in a federal investigation and case regarding WikiLeaks.
‘I’ve found you in contempt,’ federal judge Claude M. Hilton said on Friday (8 March). He place her in custody immediately after his ruling. They will release her either when she testifies or the grand jury adjourns, whichever comes first.
The investigation lawyers called Manning in to testify for remains under seal. Manning, however, said investigators and lawyers asked about WikiLeaks.
‘These secret proceedings tend to favor the government,’ she told reporters outside the courthouse before the hearing.
‘I’m always willing to explain things publicly. I’ve given voluminous testimony; I’ve given voluminous information.’
Manning’s attorney, Moira Meltzer-Cohen, said an appeal of the judge’s decision is ‘quite likely’.
She also described the decision to send a transgender activist and whistleblower to jail ‘an act of tremendous cruelty’. She did add, however, prosecutors ‘bent over backwards to accommodate’ Manning’s medical needs regarding her gender confirmation surgery.
Prosecutor Tracy McCormick responded, saying the government ‘does not want to confine Ms. Manning’ and added Manning could ‘change her mind right now and decide to testify’.
McCormick also addressed Meltzer-Cohen’s concerns about Manning going to jail. She explained this jail has experience with both transgender inmates and public figures.
Manning’s commitment to public information
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. He currently has asylum at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.