President Obama Commutes Chelsea Manning And Many Others

Posted: Jan 17 2017, 5:59pm CST | by , in Latest Political News


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President Obama Commutes Chelsea Manning and Many Others
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President Obama has commuted Chelsea Manning’s sentence, according to the New York Times. While it isn't actually a pardon, the order will reduce her 35-year sentence to just over seven years. This means that Manning will be able to be released in five months, on May 17, 2017.

Manning leaked more than 700,000 documents to WikiLeaks when she served as an intelligence analyst in Iraq. These leaks included a 2007 airstrike in Baghdad that killed two Reuters employees. She has been held at the US Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth for the past three years.

Julian Assange, who has long been sought by both the EU and the US, said that he would surrender himself to US authorities in Manning was pardoned.

Manning's legal team was floored in the announcement, which wasn't expected. “Obama may well have just saved Chelsea Manning's life,” said Sarah Harrison, who has defended Manning as Active Director of the Courage nonprofit. “Freeing her is clearly and unambiguously the right thing to do.”

Still, Harrison remains critical of Obama: “Today's news will not make good the harm done on Obama's watch,” she continued. “Chelsea's conviction under the Espionage Act and 35-year sentence set a terrible precedent that is left entirely intact by this commutation. Who knows what Donald Trump will do with this precedent, and these powers, that Obama has left him?"

Born Bradley Manning, Chelsea announced that she could complete gender transition the day after the verdict was given.

“I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female,” she said in a statement. “Given the way that I feel, and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible.” Getting hormone therapy was difficult, and it sustained a lot of fighting back and forth. She was able to start treatment in 2015. In 2016, she went on a hunger strike, demanding access to gender reassignment surgery. While it was granted, today's announcement may mean that she would have to pay for them herself.

In total, Obama signed 209 commutations and 64 pardons just three days before he leaves office. In two terms, he has issued 1,385

The commutation was part of a larger effort that included 209 commutations and 64 pardons, issued just three days before President-elect Donald Trump is scheduled to take office. President Obama has now issued 1,385 grants of commutation over the course of his two terms, the most granted by any president.

“We must remember that clemency is an extraordinary remedy, granted only after the President has concluded that a particular individual has demonstrated a readiness to make use of his or her second chance,” White House counsel Neil Eggleston said in a statement. “Only Congress can achieve the broader reforms needed to ensure over the long run that our criminal justice system operates more fairly and effectively in the service of public safety.”

Many people have also called on President Obama to pardon Edward Snowden, who is currently living in Russia on the threat of charges. So far, Obama has declined to do so.

“I can't pardon somebody who hasn't gone before a court and presented themselves,” Obama told Der Spiegel in November.

Today, a White House spokesman affirmed the earlier statements, “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,” the spokesperson said.

On Twitter, Snowden applauded the news. “In five more months, you will be free,“ he wrote on Twitter. “Thank you for what you did for everyone, Chelsea. Stay strong a while longer!”

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The Author

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/46" rel="author">Noel Diem</a>
Noel passion is to write about geek culture.




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