Chelsea Manning, the former US intelligence analyst who had leaked thousands of classified documents, was detained on Friday for failing to testify in a WikiLeaks investigation.
“I convict you of obstructing the proper course of justice,” said federal judge Claude Hilton, who jailed the 31-year-old woman after summoning her to court in the Washington suburbs.
The former WikiLeaks informant refused to answer the questions of a grand jury overseeing an investigation into the organization founded by Julian Assange, who claims to have given a global audience to “whistleblowers”.
Chelsea Manning, often seen as a symbol of the fight against the secrets of governments, has yet been offered immunity as part of these investigations.
Ms. Manning will remain incarcerated as long as she does not reconsider her decision or until the grand jury is disbanded, warned Judge Hilton of the Alexandria court, a small Virginia town adjacent to Washington.
The inmate, who has become an icon of transgender people, issued a statement Thursday that she feared returning to prison. “A judge will examine the legal basis of my refusal to answer […]. The court may conclude that I am responsible for hindering the proper course of justice and sending me back to prison, “she wrote.
A native of Oklahoma, she claims to have a constitutional right not to be questioned by this grand jury, whose opacity she also denounces.
In 2010, Private Manning, then named Bradley, had leaked more than 700,000 confidential documents to WikiLeaks related to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, including more than 250,000 diplomatic cables that plunged the United States. United in embarrassment.
The former intelligence analyst has served seven years in prison on the 35 of his sentence , having benefited from a commutation of sentence granted by former President Barack Obama. During his detention, he began his transition to becoming a woman.
For many Americans, Chelsea Manning is a heroine of freedoms who has paid dearly for useful revelations about the deaths of civilians under US bombings in Iraq and Afghanistan.
For many others, she is a guilty traitor of collusion with the enemy. Donald Trump himself described it as a “traitor”.
While in detention at Fort Leavenworth Military Institution in Kansas, she was supported by Michael Stipe, singer of the REM group, and British stylist Vivienne Westwood.
Totally unknown at the time of her arrest, she is now famous on all continents.
Born in Australia, Julian Assange has been living at the Embassy of Ecuador in London since June 2012 . If he leaves, he risks being arrested by the British authorities and subsequently extradited to the United States.