She can be released May 17, after serving seven years of a 35-year sentence.
President Obama has commuted the sentence of Chelsea Manning, the former Army intelligence officer, who is serving a 35 years for giving classified information to Wikileaks.
The decision, made in the last days of his presidency, means that Manning can be freed May 17, seven years into her sentence.
More than 117,000 people signed a petition asking Obama to cut short the sentence. Fugitive leaker Edward Snowden said in a tweet that if Obama could only free one person, it should be Manning.
Manning’s supporters were buoyed by indications that her petition was being taken seriously. At a White House briefing last week, Obama spokesman Josh Earnest said there was a “stark difference” between Manning’s crime and Snowden’s actions, with Snowden’s being “far more serious and far more dangerous.”
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has said that he would willingly surrender to the US authorities on one condition: if President Barack Obama pardons imprisoned whistleblower Chelsea Manning, a former US army private who leaked thousands of sensitive military documents to WikiLeaks in 2010. The WikiLeaks Twitter page tweeted the announcement on Thursday (15 September) saying: “If Obama grants Manning clemency, Assange will agree to US prison in exchange – despite its clear unlawfulness.”
WATCH THE VIDEO THAT SENT Chelsea Manning to prison!
Three years ago, she applied for a presidential pardon and was rejected. In her petition this November to have her sentenced commuted, she said he understood her earlier request was “too soon” and “too much.”
“I should have waited. I needed time to absorb the conviction, and to reflect on my actions. I also needed time to grow and mature as a person,” she wrote.
“I take full and complete responsibility for my decision to disclose these materials to the public. I have never made any excuses for what I did. I pleaded guilty without the protection of a plea agreement because I believed the military justice system would understand my motivation for the disclosure and sentence me fairly. I was wrong.”
The decision by Mr. Obama rescued Ms. Manning, who twice tried to commit suicide last year, from an uncertain future as a transgender woman incarcerated at the male military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. She has been jailed for nearly seven years, and her 35-year sentence was by far the longest punishment ever imposed in the United States for a leak conviction.
Now, under the terms of Mr. Obama’s commutation announced by the White House on Tuesday, Ms. Manning is set to be freed on May 17 of this year, rather than in 2045.