Attorneys for Chelsea Manning have filed a request for commutation of her sentence to time served.
In a statement accompanying her petition, a copy of which her lawyer provided to The New York Times, Ms. Manning again said she took “full and complete responsibility” for her actions, which she called “wrong.” She also described her difficult life, including the turmoil she faced at the time of her leaks as she came to grips with gender dysphoria while deployed to Iraq, her treatment in prison, and her multiple suicide attempts.
“I am not asking for a pardon of my conviction,” she wrote. “I understand that the various collateral consequences of the court-martial conviction will stay on my record forever. The sole relief I am asking for is 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.”
A new petition drive has been initiated on behalf of Chelsea Manning, and, considering the incoming administration, and the already precarious state Manning exists in, I fear that, whether successful or not, this could be the last time that her supporters are rallied to seek relief. If it fails to convince President Obama to show mercy before he leaves office, or even fails to garner enough signatures to warrant his attention, then it may not take long for Chelsea to take her own life, after two unsuccessful attempts.
I beg you to sign and then share this petition. Note that the process requires you to confirm your signature via an email message that arrived promptly after you sign. Until you confirm, your signature is not counted.
The petition reads:
Chelsea Manning has been incarcerated since May 2010, including in unlawful, unusually harsh solitary confinement for 11 months before her trial. She has spent the past six years helping others.
Chelsea has already served more time in prison than any individual in United States history who disclosed information in the public interest. Her disclosures harmed no one.
President Obama, as you and the medical community have recognized, prisoners who face solitary confinement are more likely to commit suicide.
Chelsea is a woman in a men’s facility facing ongoing mistreatment. She has attempted suicide and has been punished with additional time in solitary confinement for her desperation. Her life is at risk and you can save her.
Please commute Chelsea Manning’s sentence to time served.
Chelsea makes appeal for release before Trump takes office
By the Guardian. November 14, 2016
Chelsea Manning has made a last-ditch appeal to Barack Obama to commute her sentence for leaking state secrets to time served, calling on him to release her from military prison so that she can have her “first chance to live a real, meaningful life”.
With the clock running down on the current presidency, the US soldier is making her last, and what her supporters hope will be the most promising, stab at persuading Obama to set her free after more than six years in custody. Their assumption is that the prospects of incoming president Donald Trump showing her leniency rank as slim, to none.
Manning has already served considerably more time behind bars than any other official leaker in recent US history. In a letter that accompanies the petition, her lawyers, Nancy Hollander and Vincent Ward, liken the soldier’s plight to the many other criminal offenders that have already been given a second chance by Obama through his clemency powers.
The lawyers remind the sitting president that Manning carried out her massive leak of state secrets in 2010, that included hundreds of thousands of US diplomatic cables and war logs from Afghanistan and Iraq, at a time when she was under huge psychological stress as a result of being a transgender woman. They also emphasize the prisoner’s harsh treatment when she was first brought from Iraq to the US including a prolonged spell in solitary confinement – an issue that Obama has embraced in recent moves to restrict the use of solitary in federal penal institutions.
“Since Ms Manning’s arrest she has been subjected to torturous conditions while in military confinement. For nearly a year Ms Manning was held in solitary confinement while awaiting trial, and since her conviction, has been placed in solitary confinement for an attempted suicide,” they write.
The new petition, which was first reported by the New York Times, comes on top of a previous clemency request and an ongoing appeal against her 35-year military sentence. In supporting material, Daniel Ellsberg, the source of the legendary Pentagon Papers that revealed secrets about the Vietnam war, tells Obama: “It is my firm belief that Ms Manning disclosed this material for the purpose of informing the American people of serious human rights abuses, including the killing of innocent people by the United States troops in Iraq.”
More insights on Chelsea Manning:
From Jeremy Scahill at The Intercept: The True Scandal of 2016 was the Torture of Chelsea Manning
From @PardonManning: What Chelsea Manning Revealed: