07:42 GMT05 July 2020
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    Following a week of freedom, whistleblower Chelsea Manning is returning to an Alexandria, Virginia, jail after once again refusing to testify before a grand jury.

    Moira Meltzer-Cohen, Manning's lawyer, told the press outside the courthouse following the trial that she expected "this sanction of further incarceration will be exactly as coercive as the previous sanction — which is to say, not at all."

    ​"Grand juries like this one function to undermine the system of American government according to the American government's own laws," Metlzer-Cohen said. "This administration is also obsessed with unwinding [US President Barack] Obama's legacy, from healthcare to Chelsea's commutation. It is up to the press to stand up for themselves, to stand up for the practice of journalism, and to stand up for Chelsea in the way that she has consistently stood up for them."

    "I will not cooperate with this or any other grand jury. It doesn't matter… what it is or what the case is," Manning told members of the press prior to entering the courthouse for her hearing.

    "Facing jail again, potentially today, doesn't change my stance. Prosecutors are deliberately placing me in an impossible position," she said.

    Last week, Manning was freed from jail after a 62-day stay because the term of the grand jury that imprisoned her had expired, Sputnik reported. She had been held in contempt by the grand jury after refusing to testify for the court's ongoing investigation into WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. When Manning left jail, she was greeted with a new subpoena to appear on May 16.

    This time, however, Manning will reportedly be fined as her stay goes on — $500 per day after the first 30 days, and the $1,000 a day after the 60th day.

    ​​The purpose of imprisoning Manning for contempt of a grand jury is explicitly to compel her to testify. However, Manning hoped to avoid re-imprisonment by proving to the grand jury that she could never be compelled to cooperate under any circumstances, because she objects to the existence of grand juries on principle and because she says she already testified about the material in question during her 2013 court-martial.

    During the hearing, US District Judge Anthony Trenga said it was "unfortunate we're at this point," but that, despite Manning's pleadings otherwise, he believed further jail time might still prove coercive.

    "The truth is, no matter what happens today… I'm not going to comply with this grand jury," Manning said before the hearing.

    Assange was arrested in London in April for having skipped bail on a Swedish sexual assault investigation, but once he was in British police custody, the US Justice Department revealed an indictment against the publisher for having supposedly helped Manning break into a US government computer and steal classified documents. Assange will face an extradition hearing next month.

    Manning, who once served as a US Army intelligence analyst, used WikiLeaks in 2010 to leak classified documents proving the US covered up war crimes by its soldiers in Iraq. The infamous "Collateral Murder" video showed a US Army helicopter purposefully attacking a group of civilians, including two Reuters journalists, whose deaths the Army subsequently lied about. She also leaked hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables known colloquially as "cablegate," which exposed the inner workings of international diplomacy.

    Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison for her actions, but was pardoned by US President Barack Obama in January 2017 as he left office and freed that May.


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    contempt, jail, testimony, grand jury, investigation, WikiLeaks, US District Court, Chelsea Manning, Alexandria
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