Chelsea Manning to be released next week, say lawyers

Manning, who was sentenced to 35 years in prison after being convicted in 2013, has been locked up since May 2010.

FILE PHOTO -- People hold signs calling for the release of imprisoned wikileaks whistleblower Chelsea Manning while marching in a gay pride parade in San Francisco, California
Chelsea Manning leaked more than 700,000 files to WikiLeaks [File: Elijah Nouvelage/Reuters]

Former US Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, who was convicted of stealing classified documents on the war in Iraq and turning them over to WikiLeaks, will be released next week, her lawyers have said.

Manning, who was sentenced to 35 years in prison after being convicted in 2013, will be released following President Barack Obama’s order commuting her sentence in January just before he left office after more than 115,000 people signed a petition for her release.

Obama commutes Chelsea Manning’s prison sentence

Manning’s representatives could not provide the exact day she will be released, but a White House statement in January said she would be freed on May 17.

The 29-year-old Army private, formerly known as Bradley Manning, made international headlines after releasing thousands of classified US military documents to WikiLeaks.

The documents were stolen while Manning worked in Iraq. Their publication by WikiLeaks was one of the largest and most embarrassing leaks of classified information in US history. Manning has been in custody since being arrested in May 2010.

“Chelsea has already served the longest sentence of any whistle-blower in the history of this country. It has been far too long, too severe, too draconian,” said Manning’s lawyers in a joint statement.

Manning, who began the process of gender reassignment while in custody, said in a statement she can now see a future for herself as Chelsea.

“Freedom was only a dream, and hard to imagine. Now it’s here! You kept me alive,” she said on Twitter.

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Manning had reportedly tried to commit suicide and gone on hunger strikes while in custody in a military prison.

A former intelligence analyst in Iraq, Manning was convicted in 2013 of leaking more than 700,000 secret military and State Department documents and battlefield videos. Manning’s leaks of classified information were among the largest in US history.

Manning admitted to leaking the materials, arguing that she wanted to expose the US military’s disregard for human rights and the impact of war on civilians. She said she chose information that wouldn’t harm US personnel or security. 

The US government and critics said the leaks put sources in harm’s way. 

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Source: News Agencies