“Chelsea is being tortured for whistleblowing.”
Former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning is is back in jail Thursday after refusing to testify before a grand jury in the WikiLeaks investigation, according to an NPR report.
Manning was released last week after serving a 60 day jail term for her failure to comply with a similar subpoena. Supporters of Manning claimed she was mistreated in the prison, having spent 28 of the 60 days in what they called “solitary confinement.” The case even caught the attention of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., who accused authorities of “torturing” Manning in jail.
“Chelsea Manning has been trapped in solitary confinement for refusing to answer questions before a Grand Jury,” Ocasio-Cortez said in April. “Solitary confinement is torture.”
“Chelsea is being tortured for whistleblowing, she should be released on bail, and we should ban extended solitary in the US,” she added in the tweet.
Manning, having recently undergone sex reassignment surgery, has claimed that the jail cannot service her unique medical needs. However, prosecutors contend the prison staff is well equipped to handle her treatment.
While Manning was released after the previous grand jury’s term expired, a new grand jury quickly issued a new subpoena for her testimony. Despite the hard times she’s reportedly had in prison, Manning once again has declined to cooperate.
“Facing jail again, potentially today, doesn’t change my stance,” Manning told reporters in Alexandria, Va.
“I will not cooperate with this or any other grand jury,” Manning continued. “So it doesn’t matter what it is or what the case is, I’m just not going to comply or cooperate.”
U.S. District Judge Anthony Trenga later declared that Manning was in contempt of court, ordering her jailed for the duration of the grand jury’s term or until she decides to cooperate. In addition to her jail time, Manning faces the prospect of being fined $500 every day for every day she is in custody after 30 days and $1,000 for every day in custody after 60 days.
According to U.S. Attorney G. Zachary Terwilliger, prosecutors have “bent over backwards” to meet Manning’s medical needs in an attempt to get her testimony.
“The only thing that is being asked of her is to come answer questions truthfully,” Terwilliger said. “As someone who received the incredible gift of a commutation, who is literally given 28 years of her life back, she now refuses to simply answer questions as part of our constitutional criminal justice process.”
But Manning claims prosecutors have put her in an impossible position, although the Justice Department has already granted her immunity from self-incrimination.
In 2013, Manning was sentenced to prison after being convicted of charges related to her leaking classified documents to Wikileaks. She served seven years, had her sentence commuted by President Barack Obama and was released in early 2017.
Moira Meltzer-Cohen, a lawyer representing Manning, blamed President Donald Trump for Manning’s current treatment.
“It is telling that the United States has always been more concerned with the disclosure of those [leaked] documents than with their damning substance,” she told reporters, adding that the Trump administration was “obsessed with unwinding Obama’s legacy, from health care to Chelsea’s commutation.”
Last year, the Trump administration rolled back protections for transgender prison inmates that were put in place under the Obama administration. The new rule mandates that prisoners be housed with the gender that corresponds with their biological sex.