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'Anti-secrecy activist Chelsea Manning tried suicide'

  • Published at 12:47 pm March 12th, 2020
Chelsea Manning
Former US military intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning tried to commit suicide on March 11, 2020 AFP

'She remains unwavering in her refusal to participate in a secret grand jury process that she sees as highly susceptible to abuse'

Former US military intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning tried to commit suicide on Wednesday, two days before a court hearing on her refusal to appear before a grand jury, a support group said.

"She was taken to a hospital and is currently recovering," the Sparrow Project said on its website.

Manning "is still scheduled to appear" on Friday before a judge in Virginia, who is to consider whether punishment against her will continue, the group said.

She was ordered back to jail in May last year for refusing to testify before a grand jury targeting anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks.

Her leak years earlier of classified documents related to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan made her a hero to anti-war and anti-secrecy activists, and her actions helped make WikiLeaks a force in the global anti-secrecy movement.

"She remains unwavering in her refusal to participate in a secret grand jury process that she sees as highly susceptible to abuse," the Sparrow Project said.

"Ms Manning has previously indicated that she will not betray her principles, even at risk of grave harm to herself."

A judge in March last year ruled Manning in contempt of court and ordered her held not as punishment but to force her testimony in the secret case, a spokesman for the US attorney in the Alexandria, Virginia federal court, just outside Washington, said at the time.

She was freed in May but sent back to jail about two weeks later for still refusing to testify.

"I object to this grand jury... as an effort to frighten journalists and publishers, who serve a crucial public good," she said in a letter to the court last year, according to the Sparrow Project.

She also has said she answered all questions about her involvement with WikiLeaks years ago.

Manning was ordered to testify earlier last year for an investigation examining actions by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in 2010, according to her own description, inadvertent court revelations and media reports.

At the time Manning, a transgender woman then known as Bradley Manning, was a military intelligence analyst.

She delivered more than 700,000 classified documents into WikiLeaks's hands. The documents exposed cover-ups of possible war crimes and revealed internal US communications about other countries.

Sentenced in 2013 to 35 years in prison, she was released in May 2017 after the commutation of her sentence by President Barack Obama.

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