After seven years in a military prison Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, U.S. ex-intelligence analyst Chelsea Elizabeth Manning (born Bradley Edward Manning, December 17, 1987), is going to be released as President Barack Obama announced.
“She had taken responsibility for her crime and her sentence was disproportionate to those received by other whistleblowers”, said Obama.
Manning, a former intelligence analyst in Iraq, was imprisoned in 2013 for leaking more than 700,000 classified U.S. war reports and diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks. She received a 35-year prison sentence, by far the longest punishment ever dished out in the U.S. for a whistleblowing conviction.
Once free -probably the next week-, Manning will be an unpaid soldier and will continue to receive health care and other military benefits, according to newspaper USA Today.
Previously known as Bradley Manning, the soldier changed his name for a woman after his sentencing, and received hormone treatment while incarcerated.
Due to his female gender identity Chelsea Manning had to overcome many agressions in an all-male prison, restricting her physical and mental health care, and not allowing her to wear a feminine-style haircut.
As a result of all that mistreatment Manning attempted suicide twice last year, according to her lawyers. But finally she could filed a transgender rights lawsuit, which could have been a support amongst solidarity people and organizations.
As representative of solidarity, WikiLeaks announced Tuesday that the group had set up a “Welcome Home Manning” fund and asked people to donate Bitcoin in support of the soldier imprisoned.
“For the first time, I can see a future for myself as Chelsea,” said Manning. “I can imagine surviving and living as the person who I am and can finally be in the outside world. Freedom used to be something that I dreamed of but never allowed myself to fully imagine.”
While Manning’s court-martial conviction remains under appeal, she had been informed that she was eligible for gender-affirming surgery paid by the government. However, if the appeal of her conviction is denied, she could be dishonorably discharged, which mandates a loss of benefits including health care.