Wikileaks whistleblower Chelsea Manning released from United States prison
- Author: Audrey Hill May 18, 2017,
May 18, 2017, 9:23
Manning was a 22-year-old junior intelligence officer at a forward operating base in Iraq when she was arrested on May 27, 2010, for illegally copying usa military field reports from Iraq and Afghanistan, battlefield videos and diplomatic cables.
After being forced to serve her sentence in jail for leaking classified secrets about the USA military as a man, the transgender Chelsea Manning, 29-years-old, is finally "ready to be able to live as the woman that she is", as said by her lawyer Nancy Hollander.
The 29-year-old walked free from a maximum-security facility in Kansas thanks to a commutation of her sentence by president Barack Obama before he left office.
The former military intelligence analyst, once known as Private First Class Bradley Manning, is likely to become a transgender advocate following her release, said Chase Strangio, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer who has represented her.
A day after her sentencing, Manning announced that she wanted to live as a woman and asked to be identified as Chelsea instead of Bradley.
"Chelsea was sending me extracts of her intimate diary from prison, through which she offered me a fascinating sense of her life inside Fort Leavenworth military prison", Hawkins explained.
Manning, 29, gained global attention in 2010, when she was implicated in one of the largest leaks of state secrets in US history.
Manning said in a statement Wednesday that "whatever is ahead.is far more important than the past", and that she's "figuring things out right now".
"It's going to be a profound change for her", Evan Greer, a friend of Manning, told AFP. Hawkins has followed her legal team since 2014.
May 17, 2017: Manning is released from lockup at Kansas' Fort Leavenworth, on the date Obama's clemency order had directed.
Chelsea Manning is free today.
Chelsea Manning also leaked classified documents related to detainees at the military prison in Guantanamo Bay and some 250,000 State Department cables.
The materials that Private Manning gave to WikiLeaks included a video taken during an American helicopter attack in Baghdad in 2007 in which civilians were killed, including two journalists.
Manning attempted suicide twice in 2016, according to her attorneys, citing her prison conditions. In commuting to time served her 35-year sentence-the longest ever penalty dished out in the U.S.to an official leaker.
"Funds raised will be used to pay for Chelsea's rent, utilities, health care, clothing and other living expenses for the first year after she is released", the crowdfunding campaign read.
Julian Assange, whose WikiLeaks was put indelibly on the worldwide map with the Manning leaks, cheered her release.
"Two more days until the freedom of civilian life", Manning tweeted Monday.
Manning was convicted in 2013 of 20 charges, including six Espionage Act violations, theft and computer fraud, but was acquitted of the most serious charge of aiding the enemy. As such, she may be entitled to military benefits, including healthcare. Strangio wrote that many have complained Chelsea is not depicted with longer hair, but the photos were chosen to "capture the reality of her prison life". He received approval for taxpayer-funded sex reassignment surgery and hormone therapy while in prison, following a hunger strike demanding the surgery last September.