WASHINGTON, May 18, 2017 ⏤ After serving seven years of a 35-year sentence, Chelsea Manning, formerly Bradley Manning, has been released from prison. Manning, who gave classified information to WikiLeaks, had his sentence commuted by President Obama.
President Trump called Manning an “ungrateful traitor” during his campaign and said she “should never have been released from prison.” Manning was serving time on 20 counts, including violations of the Espionage Act, at the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas.
Army officials confirmed Manning will remain on unpaid, active-duty status as she continues to appeal her court-martial. She will continue to have access to military medical benefits.
After being sentenced, Manning changed her name to Chelsea Manning and identified as transgender.
Manning tweeted her excitement over her release. Amnesty International, a strong supporter of Manning, had fought for her release and issued a statement praising Obama’s decision to commute her sentence. But the organization also demanded investigations into human rights violations.
“While we celebrate her freedom, we will continue to call for an independent investigation into the potential human rights violations she exposed, and for protections to be put in place to ensure whistleblowers like Chelsea are never again subjected to such appalling treatment.”
Obama’s decision was strongly criticized by intelligence officials and congressional Republicans. But according to Manning’s legal team, “Chelsea has already served the longest sentence of any whistleblower in the history of this country. It has been far too long, too severe, too draconian,” they said.
Manning has said she hopes to reside in the Washington area. She is also considering gender reassignment if doctors continue to recommend it.