Chelsea Manning in custody for refusing to testify over WikiLeaks probe

Chelsea Manning, a former Iraq-based U.S. Army intelligence analyst giving classified data to WikiLeaks in 2010, was arrested Friday for refusing to testify to a grand jury probing the international anti-secrecy website.

Manning will be held in jail until she testifies before the grand jury or that grand jury is no longer operating, Claude M. Hilton, a federal judge in Alexandria, Virginia, ruled Friday.

"I've found you in contempt," Hilton told Manning, ordering her to custody immediately, "either until you purge yourself or the end of the life of the grand jury."

"The court may find me in contempt and order me to jail," Manning said in a statement issued Thursday, "In solidarity with many activists facing the odds, I will stand by my principles."

"My legal team continues to challenge the secrecy of these proceedings, and I am prepared to face the consequences of my refusal," her statement read.

Local media said prosecutors in the Eastern District of Virginia have been investigating WikiLeaks for years, and revealed last year that they had charged the website's founder Julian Assange under seal.

Manning, a transgender formerly known as a male soldier called Bradley Manning, was arrested in 2010 after leaking 700,000 military files including a battlefield video and diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks, the largest leak of classified data in U.S. history.

She was court-martialed and sentenced in 2013 to 35 years in jail, the longest sentence ever imposed for a leak conviction in U.S. history. Yet in January 2017, the then outgoing U.S. President Barack Obama shortened the sentence to seven years after she had requested clemency. Manning walked out of a military prison in May that year.

Source(s): Xinhua News Agency