Chelsea Manning, the Army intelligence analyst who has been imprisoned in a military prison since 2010 for charges of violating the Espionage act associated with a massive leak of military documents to WikiLeaks, is set to be released next week.
Manning’s release comes after President Obama performed a midnight commutation of the former Army member’s 35-year sentence. Though the administration seemed to go back and forth over whether or not to commute Manning’s sentence, strong advocacy on her behalf won out in the end.
Manning’s release date is not yet known, though a White House statement noted that her sentence is set to expire on May 17. Manning, who has been imprisoned since July of 2010, will have served seven years by the time she is released.
Manning’s attorneys argued that their client had served more than enough time for her crimes.
“Chelsea has already served the longest sentence of any whistleblower in the history of this country. It has been far too long, too severe, too draconian.”
The release of a trove of classified documents by Manning represents the most significant, embarrassing leak the government has ever seen. The documents gave the American people an insider view into the ongoing war in Iraq.
Manning’s plight has been magnified by the fact that during her trial and jail sentence, she came out as a trans woman. Previously Bradley Manning, Chelsea revealed her gender identity and requested to be moved out of the all-male detention center. She was denied.
Manning’s release is being considered by many to be long overdue. Manning herself was jubilant to learn of her impending release and says that she can now imagine a future for herself.
“I can see a future for myself as Chelsea. I can imagine surviving and living as the person who I am and can finally be in the outside world. Freedom used to be something that I dreamed of, but never allowed myself to fully imagine.”