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Obama commutes WikiLeaks whistleblower Chelsea Manning's sentence — she'll be free in 5 months

January 18,2017 05:09

President Barack Obama commuted the majority of WikiLeaks whistleblower Chelsea Manning's prison sentence on Tuesday, with only three days left in office. Manning was convicted of violating the Espionage Act, among other charges, in 2013 after she ...and more »



REUTERS/Elijah
Nouvelage/File Photo

President Barack Obama commuted the majority of WikiLeaks
whistleblower Chelsea Manning's prison sentence on Tuesday, with
only three days left in office.

Manning
was convicted of violating the Espionage Act, among other
charges, in 2013 after she stole secret documents from a computer
system she had access to while working as an intelligence analyst
in Iraq and leaked them to WikiLeaks in 2010.

She received a 35-year sentence for the leak and has served seven
years in Fort Leavenworth. She will now be freed in five months,
on May 17.

Manning, a transgender woman, has
attempted suicide twice while in prison.

Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, said last week that

he'd agree to be extradited to the US if Obama grants
clemency to Manning.

The US has
threatened to prosecute Assange over the 2010 leak. Assange
has been holed up at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since 2012,
to
avoid extradition to Sweden where he has been accused of
sexual assault.

Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary,
told The New York Times on Tuesday that there's a "pretty
stark difference" between Manning's case and that of former
government employee Edward Snowden.

Chelsea
Manning.
AP

"Chelsea Manning is somebody who went through the military
criminal justice process, was exposed to due process, was found
guilty, was sentenced for her crimes, and she acknowledged
wrongdoing," Earnest said. "Mr. Snowden fled into the arms of an
adversary, and has sought refuge in a country that most recently
made a concerted effort to undermine confidence in our
democracy."

Snowden declared his support for Manning on Twitter.

"In five more months, you will be free. Thank you for what
you did for everyone, Chelsea. Stay strong a while longer!"
Snowden tweeted.

The president has not granted clemency to Snowden.

Obama pardoned 64 other people on Tuesday and shortened the
sentences of 209 prisoners. Over his two terms, Obama has
commuted the sentences of 1,385 people and granted 212 pardons.

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