With her latest video “Obama”, Anohni has implored the exiting president to free Chelsea Manning, who is currently in prison for revealing state secrets, before Donald Trump begins his presidential term.
“Please let Chelsea Manning out of prison,” the singer wrote in accompanying text for the video. “Recognise her tremendous sacrifice, and her vulnerability. With Trump incoming, if you leave Chelsea in prison, she will never see the light of day, or worse.”
She continued: “If you leave Chelsea Manning in prison for whistle-blowing, you send the final message to our nation that the Obama administration brutally punished moral courage in these unforgiving United States.”
Chelsea Manning, who is serving 35 years in a military prison and is the longest serving prisoner for whisteblowing in all of American history, asked the current president herself last month to shorten her sentence. Manning has served six years of her sentence. The petition forwarded to Obama 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.
“Obama” is taken from Anohni’s album Hopelessness, and details her support for the Democrat president while asking him to finally “recognise her tremendous sacrifice, and her vulnerability”. She details her worry that under the Trump administration, Manning will never get out.
“She has suffered enough, President Obama. She poses no threat. Show us the heart of the Obama administration now. The election is over. There is no political advantage left in allowing Chelsea to perish in prison.”
“Have mercy on her, Obama, friend of the trans community: I implore you to Free Chelsea Manning,” she concludes.