On Tuesday, President Obama commuted the remaining prison sentence of Chelsea Manning, an army intelligence analyst convicted of leaking documents to Wikileaks in 2010, regarded as one of the largest breaches in U.S. history.
Born Bradley Manning, the now 29-year-old transgender U.S. Army private goes by the name Chelsea Manning. As a result of Obama’s pardon, Manning is scheduled to be released from prison on May 17th instead of 2045.
Manning was originally sentenced to 35 years in 2013 – the longest sentencing for a leak conviction, reports the Hill.
The White House gave an official statement that President Obamas believes the time Manning served is “sufficient punishment for the serious crimes she committed.”
A stark contrast from what Obama originally said in 2013 that Manning “broke the law” and deserved punishment, says a report.
Reportedly, Manning suffers from mental health issues and attempted to commit suicide twice last year at a prison in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. After going on a hunger strike at one point, the military finally agreed to provide gender dysphoria treatment.
The Hill claims that Manning’s grant was one of 209 other commutations and 64 pardons that were announced during Obama’s final days in office.
Press secretary Josh Earnest cited differences between Manning’s case and that of Edward Snowden, who faces espionage charges for leaking government documents. He told reporters, “Chelsea Manning is somebody who went through the military criminal justice process, was exposed to due process, was found guilty, was sentenced for her crimes, and she acknowledged wrongdoing.”
Earnest added, “Mr. Snowden fled into the arms of an adversary, and has sought refuge in a country that most recently made a concerted effort to undermine confidence in our democracy.”
Chase Strangio, Manning’s attorney, said he was “relieved and thankful” for the Obama’s commutation grant. He felt the severity of her sentencing was unfair due her mental health issues. He added, “This move could quite literally save Chelsea’s life, and we are all better off knowing that Chelsea Manning will walk out of prison a free woman.”
Obama has certainly exercised his 2014 clemency initiative to shorten prison sentences for non-violent offenders that he deemed were unjust.
Obama has granted commutations to 1,385 federal inmates as president, more than the total number given by the past 12 presidents combined. He has also pardoned 212 people.
It has also been reported that Obama is expected to announce yet another round of clemency grants only one day before his presidency ends.
H/T: The Hill
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