Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
USA | By Kelli Rowe

Chelsea Manning released after 7 years in military prison

U.S. Army soldier Chelsea Manning left a U.S. military prison almost 30 years early Wednesday, after being pardoned by former President Barack Obama in the waning days of his presidency. Her sentence was commuted by President Barack Obama, who noted she had already served more time than other government leakers.

Manning, now 29, also went on a hunger strike during her detention to denounce the disciplinary measures to which she was subjected - including stints in solitary confinement. After her conviction, she announced that she wanted to be known as Chelsea Manning and referred to by female pronouns.

Manning claimed she had to endure cruel circumstances while incarcerated, which led to her trying to commit suicide twice previous year.

"For the first time, I can see a future for myself as Chelsea", Manning said in a pre-release news release, according to BBC News.

She was released on Wednesday after only serving seven years.

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Last week, Manning tweeted her excitement about her impending release: "Freedom was only a dream, and hard to imagine".

Manning was sentenced to 35 years in jail in 2013 after being convicted of numerous charges, including espionage.

In a now-famous image provided by the U.S. Army, Pte.

"We can all finally truly celebrate the strength and heroism she has shown in surviving and sharing her truth and life with all of us", Strangio said. Around the time Obama commuted her sentence, The Blaze's Matt Walsh wrote a piece on Manning, with the headline, "Bradley Manning is still a traitor".

She will remain an active-duty soldier in the U.S. Army, though she won't be paid a salary and it's highly unlikely that she will be called to serve.

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The film, "XY Chelsea", by director Tim Travers Hawkins and co-produced by Oscar victor Laura Poitras, will start filming with Manning later Wednesday "as she walks free and begins to tell her story", Pulse said in a statement.

Manning was deployed in Iraq as an intelligence analyst when she leaked hundreds of thousands of files to Wikileaks.

An online campaign set up by her attorney has raised $150,000 (£115,725) to pay for her living expenses for the first year after her release. It was not immediately clear how that would be affected by the Defense Department and Army restrictions.

Manning is likely to become a transgender advocate, said Chase Strangio, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union who has represented Manning.

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