Obama commutes sentence of Chelsea Manning

Chelsea Manning (AP image)

WASHINGTON (CBS) – As one of his final acts as outgoing president, Barack Obama commuted the sentence being served by Chelsea Manning, a transgender soldier who is more than six years into a 35-year sentence for leaking classified government and military documents to the WikiLeaks website.

Manning’s attorneys released her commutation application in November, asking Mr. Obama to shorten her sentence to the time she’s already served.

The president granted commutation of sentence to 209 individuals and pardons to 64 individuals on Tuesday. Manning is set to be freed on May 17.

Manning, whose name was Bradley at the time of her arrest in 2010, worked as an intelligence analyst in Iraq. She was convicted in 2013 in military court of six violations of the Espionage Act and 14 other offenses for providing to WikiLeaks more than 700,000 secret military and State Department documents, as well as battlefield videos.

When Manning was sentenced, she was also dishonorably discharged from the Army, and reduced to the grade of “private E-1,” the lowest rank possible for an enlisted member of the Army.

She admitted to leaking the documents, saying it was intended to raise awareness about the toll the war had taken on innocent civilians. As part of Manning’s application for commutation, retired Air Force Col. Morris D. Davis, who was chief prosecutor for the military commissions at Guantanamo Bay for two years, said much of the information Manning leaked had little value and could be found through open sources on the internet.

In September 2016, after a lengthy lawsuit, Manning became the first transgender military inmate to be granted a request for gender transition surgery.

Manning attempted suicide multiple times citing the treatment she’s received in prison.

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