As one of his final acts acts President Obama commuted the 35 year sentence for convicted former Army intelligence analyst CHELSEA MANNING who was convicted in 2010 for passing classified information to WikiLeaks, the international digital guerrilla organization famed for exposing government and industrial secrets and corruption.
Manning has made international news for much of the last decade not only for her conviction and imprisonment but also for her status as a transgender political prisoner. Manning was originally convicted under the birth name of Bradley and after conviction revealed she was transgender. During her time in prison, Manning has suffered from depression and has made two suicide attempts while in prison and has had a long going battle with federal authorities over receiving proper treatment as a transgender prisoner.
President Obama also granted 208 other commutations and 64 pardons on Tuesday. To date, presidential commutations and pardons are irreversible per court rulings. The incoming Trump Administration is legally prohibited from reversing such orders.
“I think justice was finally done today,” said Manning’s lawyer, David Coombs. “Thirty-five years was not an appropriate sentence. Seven years is still too long, but at least Chelsea now will be able to return to her life, return to her family and to the people who love her.”
During the original trial, Manning was portrayed as a naive young whistle blower with a low security clearance who only released relatively unimportant documents to WikiLeaks. Manning herself said:
“I take full and complete responsibility for my decision to disclose these materials to the public. I have never made any excuses for what I did. I pleaded guilty without the protection of a plea agreement because I believed the military justice system would understand my motivation for the disclosure and sentence me fairly. I was wrong.”
Chelsea Manning is now scheduled to be released on May 17, 2017 from the military prison in Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas. The 120 day waiting period allows a smooth transition for the prisoner including finding Manning a place to live after being released.
It’s also been noted that Manning’s release gets the military off the hook for providing adequate care for a transgender prisoner requesting sex reassignment surgery.
Chelsea Manning or her lawyers have yet to announce future plans for the former prisoner.
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