Commutation of Chelsea Manning
Commutation of Chelsea Manning, the American whistle-blower slapped with a 35-year sentence for leaking classified State Department documents to the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks, has had her sentence commuted by the outgoing President, Barack Obama.
Earlier known as Bradley, she has gender dysphoria, is undergoing hormone therapy for gender reassignment, and has twice attempted suicide while being held at a men’s prison. She has served more than six years of her sentence and, assuming Mr. Obama’s commutation is implemented, could hope to be freed by May 2017.
Central to his argument was the fact that she had served time in jail after pleading guilty to 10 of the 22 charges, relating to espionage, fraud and theft, for releasing 2,50,000 diplomatic cables, 5,00,000 military reports, military videos from Iraq and Afghanistan, and dossiers on prisoners held in Guantanamo Bay.
Mr. Obama’s decision to commute the sentence could not have come at a more fraught juncture in U.S. politics. WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange, holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, had promised to allow himself to be extradited to the U.S. if Mr. Obama freed Ms. Manning. Now he says he will abide by that promise.