Chelsea Manning jailed again as she refuses to testify before grand jury

Former army private says she would ‘rather starve to death’ than cooperate in growing battle of wills

Chelsea Manning was again behind bars on Thursday night after she was jailed for a second time for contempt of court, having refused to cooperate with a grand jury.

A defiant Manning told Judge Anthony Trenga in a federal district court in Alexandria, Virginia, that she would “rather starve to death” than do what the state insisted and give testimony before the grand jury. Having already served 62 days in jail, 28 of which were spent in solitary confinement, she now faces up to 18 months more in custody.

Trenga further tightened the screws on the former army private by adding a financial penalty. If Manning continues to refuse testimony and remains in jail after 30 days, she will be fined $500 for every subsequent day behind bars. If she reaches 60 days, the figure will be raised to $1,000 a day.

The tussle over the grand jury is now shaping up into an epic battle of wills between Virginia prosecutors determined to force Manning to testify in what they hope will be an eventual trial of Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, and the former intelligence analyst, who has proven herself to have a defiant streak. In a video recording she made on the day she was released from jail a week ago following the expiry of the first grand jury, she said: “I will never agree to testify before this or any other grand jury. The government knows I cannot be coerced.”

The grand jury in front of which Manning has been ordered to appear is presumed to relate to the criminal prosecution of Assange. Assange has been charged with conspiring with Manning to break into military computers to help her transmit a vast trove of US state secrets to the open information organization in 2010.

After Thursday’s court hearing, Manning’s lawyer, Moira Meltzer-Cohen, said: “In 2010, Chelsea made a principled decision to let the world see the true nature of modern asymmetric warfare. It is telling that the United States has always been more concerned with the disclosure of those documents than with the damning substance of the disclosures.”


Ed Pilkington in New York

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Chelsea Manning released after 62-day confinement in jail
However, the former army intelligence analyst was served a new subpoena ordering her to appear before another grand jury

Ed Pilkington in New York

10, May, 2019 @1:30 AM

Article image
Chelsea Manning prepares for freedom: 'I want to breathe warm spring air again'
On Wednesday, after seven years, Chelsea Manning will walk out of military prison a free woman. Edward Snowden leads the tributes

Ed Pilkington

17, May, 2017 @10:01 AM

Article image
Edward Snowden sends birthday greeting to 'extraordinary' Chelsea Manning
On Manning’s 27th birthday, NSA whistleblower praises WikiLeaks source for having ‘inspired an angry public’ with her ‘extraordinary act of service’

Ed Pilkington in New York

16, Dec, 2014 @10:29 PM

Article image
Chelsea Manning will risk return to jail over new subpoena
Manning said she would not comply with a subpoena to testify about her interactions with Julian Assange

Jon Swaine in New York

12, May, 2019 @7:15 PM

Article image
‘I spent seven years fighting to survive’: Chelsea Manning on whistleblowing and WikiLeaks
Seen as both hero and traitor, the US army analyst turned data activist talks about fitting into the world since her prison release

Carole Cadwalladr

07, Oct, 2018 @8:30 AM

Bradley Manning: Cruel and unusual | Editorial
Editorial: There was at least the ghost of an excuse for US bullying of foreign combatants but no such need for mistreating one of their own


15, Mar, 2011 @12:05 AM

Article image
Chelsea Manning faces solitary confinement and charges after suicide attempt
Serving 35 years for leaking secrets to WikiLeaks, she was being investigated for resisting guards, prohibited property and threatening conduct charges

Nicky Woolf in San Francisco

29, Jul, 2016 @6:29 AM

Article image
This shameful abuse of Bradley Manning | Daniel Ellsberg

Daniel Ellsberg: The WikiLeaks suspect's mistreatment amounts to torture. Either President Obama knows this or he should make it his business

Daniel Ellsberg

11, Mar, 2011 @10:09 PM

Article image
Bradley Manning hearing – Thursday 22 December

• Closing prosecution and defence arguments at Fort Meade
• Thursday expected to be last day in Bradley Manning hearing
• Paul Almanza to make recommendation by 16 January
• Updating live from Fort Meade: Matt Williams
• In New York: Adam Gabbatt

Matt Williams and Adam Gabbatt

22, Dec, 2011 @7:01 PM

Article image
Bradley Manning hearing: court rejects bias claim
Defence wanted investigating officer to step down as he is also a prosecutor for the US justice department

Staff and agencies

17, Dec, 2011 @11:50 AM