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Former US Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, jailed a year ago for refusing to testify before a federal jury investigating WikiLeaks, has attempted suicide ahead of a court hearing, her lawyers said.
Manning is in the hospital and recovering, Gizmodo reported on Wednesday citing the imprisoned activist’s legal team. The 31-year-old reportedly used a sheet to hang herself inside the Alexandria Detention Center in Virginia, according to the Daily Mail. That report has not been officially confirmed.
Manning has been locked up since March 2019, when she refused to appear before the federal grand jury and testify against WikiLeaks. Judge Anthony Trenga found the activist in contempt of court and ordered her jailed, later adding a steep fine of $1,000 a day for non-compliance. The fines have piled up to over $250,000 by now, which the destitute Manning has no way of paying.
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Judge Trenga was scheduled to hear Manning’s motion to end the sanctions on Friday.
It would be the third time the former US Army intelligence analyst has tried to take her own life while in prison. The previous two attempts happened in 2016, as Manning served a 35-year federal sentence for handing WikiLeaks a trove of Pentagon and State Department documents related to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
That sentence was commuted by President Barack Obama at the end of his term, and the free speech activist was released in May 2017, only to be jailed for refusing the court summons in the WikiLeaks case.
“I would rather starve to death than to change my opinion in this regard. And when I say that, I mean that quite literally,” Manning told reporters in May 2019.
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A month earlier, WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange was hauled out of the Ecuadorian embassy in London. He is currently awaiting the outcome of extradition hearings on US charges of assisting Manning in hacking the Pentagon computer systems, which could see him imprisoned for 175 years if convicted.
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