Various outlets are reporting that Chelsea Manning’s sentence has just been commuted by President Obama.
The former Army intelligence officer was incarcerated in 2010 after stealing roughly 700,000 military dossiers and diplomatic cables and turning them over to Wikileaks.
As NBC News reports, the decision — made in the very last days of Obama’s presidency — means that Manning can go free May 17th after serving seven years of her sentence.
Following Edward Snowden’s Tweet that said if Obama should free one person, it should be Manning, over 117,000 citizens signed a petition asking the President to cut the sentence short.
The request didn’t fall on deaf ears. Last week, Obama spokesperson Josh Earnest said in a White House briefing that there was a “stark difference” between Manning’s crimes and Snowden’s actions, with Snowden’s being “far more serious and far more dangerous” and, to our mind, ultimately awesome.
Manning applied for a presidential pardon there years ago and was rejected at the time. This November, she said in a petition that her previous request was “too soon” and “too much”.
“I should have waited,” she said.
I needed time to absorb the conviction, and to reflect on my actions. I also needed time to grow and mature as a person.
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.
Manning says she hasn’t been able to get proper medical treatment for her gender dysphoria while being incarcerated.
“The bottom-line is this,” she says. “I need help and I am still not getting it. I am living through a cycle of anxiety, anger, hopelessness, loss, and depression. I cannot focus. I cannot sleep. I attempted to take my own life.”