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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, January 13, 2017 - Volume 45 Issue 02
President Obama reportedly considering freeing Chelsea Manning
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President Obama reportedly considering freeing Chelsea Manning

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

President Barak Obama is reportedly considering a commutation for former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning.

A Justice Department source told reporters that Manning was on the president's 'short list' for commutations.

Manning has already spent more than six years in jail for stealing nearly a million secret documents and then leaking them to Wikileaks. The 29-year-old was sentenced to 35 years behind bars at Fort Leavenworth for releasing the files, including those detailing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as secret diplomatic cables.

The day after the verdict, Manning (then known as Bradley) came out as a Transgender woman. Time behind bars hasn't been easy for her. Manning went on a hunger strike earlier this year in a bid to get gender reassignment surgery, and she has tried to commit suicide twice.

Manning and Edward Snowden (an ex-NSA contractor who similarly leaked a slew of files before fleeing to Russia) both requested clemency from Obama in November.

Manning told the Guardian that clemency is her 'last hope.'

Snowden took to Twitter Wednesday and urged the president to help Manning.

'Mr. President, if you grant only one act of clemency as you exit the White House, please: free Chelsea Manning. You alone can save her life,' he wrote.

Manning believes President-elect Donald Trump would look less than favorably on her case and leave her to serve the remaining decades left on her sentence.

Manning's family remains cautiously optimistic.

'I have more hope right now than I have the entire time since she was sentenced,' her aunt, Deborah Manning, told NBC. 'I do think it's the last hope for a while.'

Chelsea Manning went so far as to start a petition calling on President Obama to reduce the remainder of her 35-year prison sentence. In December, that petition exceeded its goal of 100,000 signatures, requiring the White House to respond.

'We did it! Thank you so much for your love and support,' Manning, 28, tweeted upon hearing the news of the signature drive.

Manning's petition created on November 14 could get an official White House response within 60 days.

'The sole relief I am asking for is to be released from military prison after serving six years of confinement as a person who did not intend to harm the interests of the United States or harm any service members,' Manning said through her lawyer.

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