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Chelsea Manning was just released from jail on a technicality. But she's already gotten another subpoena — to testify for the exact same reason — and is probably headed back.
The 31-year-old whistleblower was detained at the Truesdale Detention Center in Virginia for 62 days after refusing to testify before a grand jury about her connections to WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange. Manning was only released from jail Thursday because the grand jury’s term expired.
Before she even left jail, Manning was served another subpoena — to answer the same exact questions she had already refuse to answer — on May 16, when the grand jury’s term restarts. Manning’s attorneys say she will continue to refuse to answer questions before any grand jury, which could land her in jail for the entirety of the new term.
Assange is currently facing extradition to the U.S. after he was ejected from the Ecuadorian embassy in London and subsequently arrested in April. Within hours, the U.S. unsealed an indictment against the WikiLeaks founder that charged him with conspiracy to hack into a Pentagon computer network with Manning. Assange’s indictment even cites messages between the two.
Manning said she already answered everything she knew at a 2013 court martial, but prosecutors believe her testimony may have been inaccurate.
"I will not comply with this, or any other grand jury,” Manning said in a written statement in March in response to the first subpoena. "Imprisoning me for my refusal to answer questions only subjects me to additional punishment for my repeatedly stated ethical objections to the grand jury system."
Manning previously served 7 years of a 35-year prison sentence for espionage after she leaked a cache of military documents to WikiLeaks, which included a video that showed a 2007 helicopter attack in Baghdad that killed dozens, including two journalists. Large portions of her time in prison were in solitary. As one of his last acts in office, Barack Obama commuted her sentence.
Cover image: Chelsea Manning, the former Army intelligence analyst who served about seven years in federal prison for leaking government documents to Wikileaks, speaks at the C2 business conference Thursday, May 24, 2018, in Montreal. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press via AP)