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Obama grants Chelsea Manning commutation

Chelsea Manning

Chelsea Man­ning was born Bradley Man­ning, but announced his plans to tran­si­tion into a woman in 2013.

Chelsea Man­ning, the for­mer Army intel­li­gence ana­lyst who is serv­ing a 35-year sen­tence for shar­ing mil­i­tary doc­u­ments with Wik­iLeaks, will walk free in May thanks to a com­mu­ta­tion grant­ed by Pres­i­dent Oba­ma on Tues­day.

Manning’s com­mu­ta­tion was one of 209, along with 64 par­dons, announced by the White House just days before Obama’s pres­i­den­cy comes to an end. The list brings the total num­ber of com­mu­ta­tions issued by Oba­ma to 1,385 indi­vid­u­als, the most grant­ed by any Pres­i­dent in the nation’s his­to­ry.

Man­ning who will be released May 17, was con­vict­ed in July 2013 on mul­ti­ple counts after enter­ing a guilty plea. She was sen­tenced to 35 years in prison one month lat­er. Orig­i­nal­ly, Man­ning could have faced the death penal­ty.

Man­ning is cur­rent­ly being held at Fort Leav­en­worth, where she twice unsuc­cess­ful­ly attempt­ed sui­cide. Addi­tion­al­ly, Man­ning, who was born Bradley Man­ning but began tran­si­tion­ing into a woman around the time of sen­tenc­ing, engaged in a week-long hunger strike in Sep­tem­ber after fail­ing to receive the sex reas­sign­ment surgery pre­vi­ous­ly promised to her while serv­ing her sen­tence.

Manning’s treat­ment while at Leav­en­worth has often been crit­i­cized by her sup­port­ers, and Chase Stran­gio, an attor­ney with the Amer­i­can Civ­il Lib­er­ties Union who rep­re­sents Man­ning, said the deci­sion to short­en her sen­tence could have saved her life.

We are all bet­ter off know­ing that Chelsea Man­ning will walk out of prison a free woman,” Stran­gio said.

Like­wise, Wik­iLeaks praised Obama’s deci­sion, say­ing courage and deter­mi­na­tion “made the impos­si­ble pos­si­ble.” Ear­li­er this week, Wik­iLeaks announced founder Julian Assange, who is accused of sex­u­al assault and has avoid­ed extra­di­tion for more than four years, agreed to be extra­dit­ed in exchange for Manning’s clemen­cy.

But not every­one is thrilled with Manning’s reduced sen­tence. House Speak­er Paul Ryan (R-WI) called the deci­sion “out­ra­geous.”

Chelsea Manning’s treach­ery put Amer­i­can lives at risk and exposed some of our nation’s most sen­si­tive secrets. Pres­i­dent Oba­ma now leaves in place a dan­ger­ous prece­dent that those who com­pro­mise our nation­al secu­ri­ty won’t be held account­able for their crimes,” Ryan said in a state­ment.

The White House said the indi­vid­u­als have been grant­ed a sec­ond chance by the Pres­i­dent of a for­giv­ing nation where hard work and a com­mit­ment to reha­bil­i­ta­tion can lead to such oppor­tu­ni­ties.
Oba­ma grants Chelsea Man­ning com­mu­ta­tion
Oba­ma grants Chelsea Man­ning com­mu­ta­tion

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