Obama to Commute the Sentence of Whistleblower Chelsea Manning


By Kody Fairfield

President Barack Obama, just days before concluding his 8 years in the White House, has announced that he will commute the federal sentence of whistleblower Chelsea Manning (formerly Bradley Manning). That would mean that Manning will now be released in May 2017 instead of at the end of her sentence, which would have been in 2045, reports The New York Times.

Manning is a former army intelligence analyst who was convicted of violating the Espionage Act in 2013 for leaking classified information to Wikileaks. Her leak of classified cables, including details about American military activities around the world, is arguably the cornerstone upon which Wikileaks built their reputation as a whistleblower information safehaven.

In August of 2013, Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison, seven of which had already been served in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. The New York Times said that the 35 year sentence was one of the longest ever levied for the leaking of classified information.

Manning, while in prison, has attempted suicide twice, which eventually landed her in solitary confinement. She has also attempted hunger strikes to protest her treatment while in the facility.

Throughout her imprisonment, many in the whistleblower community have come forward to voice their support for Manning, including the likes of Edward Snowden, who was responsible for the documents uncovering mass government surveillance in the US, and founder of Wikileaks Julian Assange. The latter went as far as to say that in return for the clemency of Manning, he would agree to be extradited to the US to face potential charges stemming from the same leak of information which Manning was convicted for.

RELATED: Wikileaks to US: Release Manning and Assange Will Agree to Extradition

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