President Obama is considering pardoning Chelsea Manning, NBC reports.
Mr. President, if you grant only one act of clemency as you exit the White House, please: free Chelsea Manning. You alone can save her life.
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) January 11, 2017
The former Army intelligence analyst stole 70,000 military files and diplomatic cables and gave them to WikiLeaks in 2010. Chelsea, then known as Bradley, was sentenced to 35 years in prison. Since, she’s attempted suicide twice and staged a hunger strike in a bid for gender reassignment surgery.
Manning is apparently on a short list of Obama’s remaining pardons and a decision could come this week.
“I have more hope right now than I have the entire time since she was sentenced,” Manning’s aunt, Deborah Manning, told NBC News.
“I do think it’s the last hope for a while.”
During sentencing, Manning apologized for the theft of the documents.
“I’m sorry,” Manning said. “I’m sorry that my actions hurt people. I’m sorry that they hurt the United States.”
“I understand that I must pay the price for my decisions and actions,” Manning added.
Manning’s lawyer was shocked by the sentence she received.
“After this case, I had to tell Chelsea — ‘I’ve represented murderers. I’ve represented rapists. I’ve represented child molesters. And none of them received 35 years,'” defense lawyer David Coombs said.
“I don’t think it really sunk in,” Deborah Manning said. “Thirty-five years is just a long thing to try to imagine, especially when you’re just in your early 20s.”
“I really believe the judge felt she needed to send some sort of message,” Deborah said. “I think in a way she was a scapegoat for Edward Snowden.”
Manning received hormone therapy at the Leavenworth military prison but a military doctor refused to change her gender on Army records.
Manning’s aunt said she hopes Obama pardons her, considering the circumstances of her difficult life.
“I would say this is someone who’s never had a chance in life, who is extremely bright, who became extremely emotionally distressed as some point, who made a bad decision, who paid for that bad decision,” Deborah Manning said.
“And it’s time to let her go out and try to make a positive contribution in the world.”
(image via Wikimedia)