Chelsea Manning Supporters Celebrate After Obama's Decision
Jan 18 2017 by Larry Hoffman
Imprisoned transgender soldier now known as Chelsea Manning was briefly hospitalized this week, a U.S. defense official said on July 6, 2016, amid media reports that the famous intelligence leaker had attempted suicide.
Manning was found guilty in 2013 and her sentence was originally set to end on May 17, 2045.
To some Manning was seen as a whistleblower who revealed the harsh reality of United States foreign policy, to others she was a traitor who has endangered its troops and spies.
Tuesday's commutation marked a reversal from Obama's past position on Manning in 2011, when he said the former soldier "broke the law" and deserved punishment.
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Washington has maintained the threat of prosecuting Assange over the 2010 leak, though no charges have been filed.
Throughout his presidency, Obama has commuted the sentences of 1,385 prisoners, 504 of whom were serving life sentences, according to the White House.
Snowden had issued a plea for Obama to commute Manning's sentence before he left office, ahead of Trump's inauguration on 20 January.
In 2009, Manning was deployed to Iraq with her unit under Bradley Manning, the name she was assigned at birth.
Mr Obama has also pardoned 64 other people, including retired General James Cartwright, who was charged with making false statements during a probe into the disclosure of classified information.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest explained the "pretty stark difference" between Manning's case and that of Edward J. Snowden on Tuesday, stating that while their offenses were similar, there were "some important differences".