Here’s your depressingly evergreen reminder that Chelsea Manning is still in jail.
The whistleblower-turned-activist was jailed on May 17 as punishment for refusing to cooperate with a grand jury’s investigation into WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. As part of her sentence, she receives daily fines, which support network Chelsea Resists estimates have reached $30,000.
Manning, who served seven years in prison for leaking hundreds of thousands of U.S. government documents to WikiLeaks in 2010, was similarly jailed earlier this year for refusing to answer a grand jury’s questions about WikiLeaks and Assange. She was incarcerated for over 60 days, about half of which she spent in solitary confinement — conditions that the United Nations would likely deem torturous.
From the very beginning of this grand jury process, Manning has held steadfast that she will “not participate in a secret process that I morally object to.”
Because of Manning’s staunch moral objections to cooperating with the grand jury investigation — answering the grand jury’s questions would likely turn into “a perjury trap,” her lawyers warn in the new Showtime documentary, XY Chelsea — she is sitting in jail, racking up $1,000 in fines for every day that she does not agree to testify.
These fines have financially ruined Manning, who has been forced to give up her apartment as a result of them, The Sparrow Project reports. Her lawyers requested that the fines should be reduced or vacated in a brief filed in June, arguing that she will never be able to actually pay them off. Still, Manning says, she won’t give in.
“I definitely feel the costs of these sanctions,” said Manning, per The Sparrow Project, “but I never expected to have a comfortable life, and I would rather be in debt forever than betray my principles.”