A federal judge in the US District Court ordered former US army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning into custody on March 8 for refusing to testify as part of an investigation into WikiLeaks, the website to which Manning shared information exposing the crimes and brutalities committed by the US military during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. She will remain in detention until agreeing to testify before a grand jury or until the grand jury no longer operates. Manning previously served seven years in prison before former President Barack Obama commuted her 35-year sentence and she released in 2017.
“This ruling is clearly a punitive measure against Chelsea Manning, who had already testified at length during her court martial in 2013 about the information she shared with WikiLeaks,” said Daphne Pellegrino, Advocacy Officer for RSF’s North America bureau. “Rulings like these pose a grave threat to press freedom in the United States, where the bravery of whistleblowers like Manning inform some of the nation’s most impactful reporting. Whistleblowers must not be treated as criminals, and instead must be recognized for their critical role in maintaining a thriving democracy.”
The United States ranks 45th out of 180 countries in RSF's 2018 World Press Freedom Index.