Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Things to Know About the Chelsea Manning Release

"It is incredible to witness Chelsea Manning's freedom after having seen and worked with her behind bars for four years", said Chase Strangio, a lawyer with the ACLU rights group that lobbied for Manning's early release. Thank you so much, I want you to know you've been my hero since high school and I'm just so happy for you!

She added: "Whatever is ahead of me is far more important than the past".

In her letter to Obama asking to commute her sentence, Manning wrote: "The Army kept me in solitary confinement for almost a year before formal charges were brought against me".

$140,000 has been raised on-line to help Manning re-acclimate and start a new life.

Indeed, Manning has repeatedly expressed remorse for her crimes, writing in her commutation application, "I take full and complete responsibility for my decision to disclose these materials to the public".

The transgender former U.S. military intelligence analyst leaked 700,000 classified military and state department documents to WikiLeaks.

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Manning was convicted in 2013 of stealing 750,000 pages of documents and videos pertaining to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as sensitive State Department cables before leaking them to WikiLeaks.

Mr Obama told the media that "she had served a significant amount of time, that it made sense to commute, and not pardon, her sentence". She was also placed in solitary confinement several times during her incarceration at Leavenworth following her sentencing. One day after sentencing, she came out as a transgender woman, but still had to serve her sentence at the all-male army prison. Under this status she will not receive pay but is entitled to medical care at military facilities and other military privileges. Manning launched a hunger strike in September, demanding access to treatment for her gender dysphoria. In one of his last acts in office, President Obama commuted most of her remaining sentence.

January 17, 2017: Days before leaving office, Obama grants clemency to Manning.

Speaking to the BBC, Manning's friend, the journalist Glenn Greenwald - who was involved in the publication of leaks from Edward Snowden - said she faced a hard life outside prison.

Andy Thayer, co-founder of the Chicago-based Gay Liberation Network, said in a statement his organization will host a "welcome home" party for Manning along with LGBT organizations in other cities worldwide.

Virtually unknown at the time of her arrest, Manning today is a well-known figure around the world. "The reason is simple: her revelations deeply embarrassed not only the Republicans, but especially the Obama administration".

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