Chelsea Manning Calls on Obama to Commute Her Sentence

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Chelsea Manning.Photo: U.S. Army

Chelsea Manning has formally petitioned President Obama to commute her 35-year sentence to the time that she has already served.

Manning has been incarcerated for more than six years after it emerged that she had leaked a cache of secret military and diplomatic documents — including a video that proved that the U.S. military killed two Reuters journalists in a helicopter strike — to WikiLeaks while working as an intelligence analyst in Iraq in 2010.

Manning’s attorneys provided a statement along with her petition that reiterated that she has taken full responsibility for her actions and called on the president to grant her clemency in the final months of his presidency. In her letter she also describes her mental and emotional torment, both during her life in the military and behind bars, and details her multiple suicide attempts.

Manning’s petition was delivered along with multiple letters of support from the likes of Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers, Morris Davis, a former military commissions chief prosecutor, and the journalist Glenn Greenwald.

The petition’s presentation will coincide with an effort on Monday to build public support for Manning. Multiple celebrities — R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe and Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore among them — are expected to put out videos calling for Manning’s release.

Many believe that this is Manning’s last chance for a reduced sentence, as the Republican-dominated government under Donald Trump will be less sympathetic to her situation.

In her letter, Manning says that she is not “asking for a pardon of my conviction,” but just “to be released from military prison after serving six years of confinement as a person who did not intend to harm the interests of the United States or harm any service members.”

Manning was punished for attempting suicide in July by being sent to solitary confinement, where she again tried to kill herself in October.