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Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning refused to answer questions at a grand jury hearing this week, and said she would accept the consequences. (Photo: AP/Dannis Van Tine)

Chelsea Manning Faces Contempt Hearing After Refusal to Answer Grand Jury Questions

"In solidarity with many activists facing the odds, I will stand by my principles."

Julia Conley

Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning expressed no regrets Thursday when she revealed that she faces a contempt hearing— and possible jail time—after declining to answer a grand jury's questions.

Manning appeared before a grand jury Wednesday after being subpoenaed, apparently to discuss her 2010 disclosure of government and military documents about the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to Wikileaks.

The subpoena came about three months after federal prosecutors in Virginia's Eastern District, where the former Army intelligence analyst was called to testify, inadvertently revealed that they had filed sealed charges against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

She said after the hearing that she had been offered immunity in exchange for testifying, but that she instead had answered each question with the following statement:

I object to the question and refuse to answer on the grounds that the question is in violation of my First, Fourth, and Sixth Amendment, and other statutory rights.

"In solidarity with many activists facing the odds, I will stand by my principles," Manning said after the hearing. "I will exhaust every legal remedy available. My legal team continues to challenge the secrecy of these proceedings, and I am prepared to face the consequences of my refusal."

Manning said the grand jury questioned her about her disclosure to Wikileaks, which was also the focus of her questioning in 2013 when she was court-martialed. Manning was convicted and sentenced to 35 years in prison for her disclosure—which helped expose war crimes by the U.S.—but her sentence was commuted in 2017 by President Barack Obama.

The whistleblower now faces a contempt trial on Friday. She acknowledged as much in her statement, saying that, "The court may find me in contempt, and order me to jail."

Supporters of Manning applauded her steadfast refusal to help prosecutors to incriminate her and convict Assange and denounced the secretive grand jury hearing and the U.S. government's continued efforts to punish her.


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