A federal judge has ordered Chelsea Manning to be jailed again for refusing to testify in a grand jury probe of Julian Assange, threatening the whistleblower with fines if the defiance continues. Manning says she would rather die.
“I would rather starve to death than to change my opinion in this regard. And when I say that, I mean that quite literally," Manning said during a hearing at a federal courthouse in Virginia on Thursday.
The US Army intelligence specialist has already spent seven years behind bars for handing over classified military and diplomatic files to WikiLeaks in 2010, and another 62 days in jail until last week for refusing to testify before another grand jury.
JUST NOW: #ChelseaManning has just entered the United States Courthouse in Alexandria.
It is possible she’ll be held in contempt and be arrested today, or she may be called back for a later hearing.
Either way, they intend to ask the same questions and she says she will refuse. pic.twitter.com/YZ02nudOA2
— Ford Fischer (@FordFischer) May 16, 2019
This time, Manning faces a fine of $500 a day if she continues to refuse cooperation after 30 days in jail. The fine will go up to $1,000 a day after two months.
“I have never heard of jailing a witness for this long,” former FBI agent and whistleblower Colleen Rowley told RT. If the grand jury term goes on for 18 months, the fines could exceed half a million dollars, she added, calling it “draconian.”
Rowley added that the jailing of Manning is either illegal retaliation by the Trump administration, “or the case against Julian Assange is just that weak that they absolutely need Chelsea Manning’s testimony in order to firm up these specious charges.”'
Read more: ‘I'd rather starve to death’: Manning jailed again for refusing to testify against WikiLeaks