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Former army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning with reporters before her court appearance today Cliff Owen/PA Images

Whistleblower Chelsea Manning sent back to jail for contempt of court, one week after being released

Manning refused to testify in a case against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

US MILITARY WHISTLEBLOWER Chelsea Manning has been ordered to return to jail for refusing to testify in a case involving WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

A spokesman for Manning’s legal team said the former intelligence analyst had been remanded in custody by Judge Anthony Trenga for contempt of court after again refusing to provide testimony.

Manning, who spent seven years in military prisons for leaking US secrets to WikiLeaks in 2010 and then two more months in a Virginia jail this year on contempt charges, said before the hearing that she would refuse to testify again.

“I’m not going to comply with this grand jury,” she told journalists outside the Alexandria courthouse before today’s hearing.

According to The Washington Post, US District Court Judge Trenga sent Manning back to jail.

He also ordered a fine of $500 a day if she does not testify within 30 days, raising that to $1,000 a day if she does not testify within 60 days.

The newspaper quoted Manning as saying “the government cannot build a prison bad enough, cannot create a system worse than the idea that I would ever change my principles”.

She added: “I would rather starve to death than to change my opinions in this regard. I mean that quite literally.”

‘I got out’

The judge reportedly responded by telling Manning there was nothing dishonourable in discharging her responsibility as a US citizen.

Manning has accused the government of seeking to revive her original court martial case, saying prosecutors were unhappy over her 2017 pardon by president Barack Obama.

“The goal here is really to relitigate the court martial,” Manning said before the hearing. “They didn’t like the outcome: I got out.”

The 31 year-old was called early this year to testify to a grand jury – a panel investigating major crimes that operates in secrecy – about her work with Assange and WikiLeaks nine years ago.

But she said that the government was abusing the grand jury process and refused to testify, saying she had answered all the questions years before.

A judge found her in contempt and on 8 March and she was jailed indefinitely, before being released last week when the grand jury’s mandate expired.

Manning, whom supporters call a whistleblower, said the new grand jury case is meaningless since the Justice Department already unveiled its charges against Assange.

“The case doesn’t make sense, it’s very bananas,” she said. “Ultimately this is an attempt to place me back into confinement.”

With reporting from - © AFP 2019

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