WASHINGTON – It seems that a former soldier who was imprisoned after leaking thousands of documents will be released from prison.
Earlier this month, a source at the Justice Department told NBC News that Chelsea Manning’s sentence may be commuted.
Chelsea Manning, who was known as Bradley, was imprisoned in 2010 after leaking 700,000 military files and diplomatic cables to Wikileaks.
Manning pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 35 years for the crime, which is 10 times longer than most other whistle-blowers.
The day after the verdict, Manning announced that she was a transgender woman.
During the past year, Manning tried to commit suicide twice and went on a hunger strike in an attempt to get gender reassignment surgery.
While at the military prison, Manning has been receiving hormone therapy and is allowed to wear women’s undergarments. However, a military doctor has refused to change her gender on her Army records.
In 2016, her attorneys formally appealed that conviction, arguing that “(n)o whistleblower in American history has been sentenced this harshly.”
Last month, NBC News reports that 100,000 people signed an online petition that sought a commutation of Manning’s sentence.
On Tuesday, the New York Times reported that President Obama largely commuted the remaining prison sentence for Manning.
After spending seven years in prison, Manning is set to be freed on May 17, 2017.
Rep. Tom Cole released the following statement, condemning President Obama’s decision to commute Manning’s sentence:
“Private Manning is a traitor to the United States who violated the Espionage Act and deserves to be incarcerated for every single day of his 35 year sentence,” said Cole. “Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, President Obama commuted Private Bradley’s sentence after serving a mere seven years. Manning’s theft of classified documents and the subsequent act of releasing them to Wiki-leaks put American intelligence assets in grave danger. That an American president would even consider releasing a traitor like Private Manning is appalling. This shameful action will weaken America, encourage our enemies and permanently tarnish the reputation of President Obama and those who recommended that he grant this ill-advised commutation.”