Chelsea Manning to be free in May after Obama commutes sentence

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Chelsea Manning, the US army intelligence analyst convicted of leaking military and diplomatic intelligence, will be freed in May after President Barack Obama announced that he has commuted the remaining prison sentence.

Manning tried to commit suicide last year and, as the only transgender woman incarcerated at the all-male Fort Leavenworth military prison in Kansas, Obama's decision could save her from an uncertain future.

Jailed for nearly seven years, her 35-year sentence is by far the longest punishment ever dished out in the U.S. for a whistleblowing conviction. Manning is set to be freed in five months on May 17, 2017, rather than in 2045.

 

WikiLeaks, the organization that Manning leaked millions of US military documents to, called the news a “victory” in a tweet.

"Thank you to everyone who campaigned for Chelsea Manning's clemency. Your courage & determination made the impossible possible," the organization's head, Julian Assange, said. 

Similarly, prominent whistleblower Edward Snowden, who tweeted that President Obama "alone can save" Manning's life on January 11, thanked the outgoing US president for the move. 

Manning, a former intelligence analyst in Iraq, was hit with a 35-year sentence after a 2013 military court conviction for providing more than 700,000 documents, videos, diplomatic cables and battlefield accounts to WikiLeaks.

 

It was the biggest breach of classified material in US history. Among the files that Manning turned over to WikiLeaks in 2010 was a first-person video of a US Apache helicopter firing at suspected Iraqi insurgents in 2007. A dozen people were killed, including two Reuters news staff.

After a two-year investigation, in 2012 the UN special rapporteur on torture denounced Manning's incarceration as cruel and inhumane.

Reposted from TeleSUR English.