Pin It
Chelsea Manning

Chelsea Manning appeals for release before Trump presidency

The Wikileaks whistleblower is spending 35 years in prison for leaking state secrets, and has asked Obama to shorten her sentence

Chelsea Manning, who is serving 35 years for leaking secret military and government documents to the site Wikileaks, has officially petitioned Barack Obama to commute her sentence.

According to The New York Times, the former U.S soldier asked the current president to shorten her sentence, of which she has served six years. The petition states that Manning has taken “full and complete responsibility”.

“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,” the petition read. 

Manning, who is the longest serving prisoner for whistleblowing in all of American history, hopes that Obama will see her release through before Trump takes over the presidency. Under Trump, it’s assumed her chances of release will be much less.

Her lawyers, as the Guardian reports, assert that Manning leaked information about operations in Iraq and Afghanistan back in 2010 while under huge psychological stress as a transgender woman. Manning, despite identifying as a woman, is currently held in an all-male military prison. She previously attempted suicide and has experienced a long period of solitary confinement – something Obama has made moves towards restricting.

“Chelsea was bullied in the army because she is transgender and she has faced ongoing abuses and the denial of health care since her incarceration,” said Chase Strangio, one of Manning’s lawyers in her civil suit, according to Jezebel. “For years she served under ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and then the ban on open transgender service, and she has fought to exist as the woman that she is; she deserves to be free and given the health care that she needs, not punished.”

“Since Ms Manning’s arrest she has been subjected to torturous conditions while in military confinement. For nearly a year Ms Manning was held in solitary confinement while awaiting trial, and since her conviction, has been placed in solitary confinement for an attempted suicide,” her lawyers wrote.

Supporting statements also come from Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg, journalist Glenn Greenwald, and former military commissions chief prosecutor Morris Davis.

Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers that detailed secrets of the Vietnam war, wrote: “It is my firm belief that Ms Manning disclosed this material for the purpose of informing the American people of serious human rights abuses, including the killing of innocent people by the United States troops in Iraq.”