Chelsea Manning Leaves Prison | Sojourners

Chelsea Manning Leaves Prison

On May 17, Chelsea Manning, who was in a U.S. military prison for seven years on charges of whistleblowing, was released, reports ABC News. On Jan. 17, President Obama commuted the bulk of Manning’s 35-year prison sentence, enabling her to be released this year. Had President Obama not done so, Manning’s year of release would have remained 2045.

“I feel very comfortable that justice has been served,” said President Obama about his partial commutation of Manning’s sentence.

Chelsea Manning was convicted for a 2010 U.S. intelligence leak that exposed information about the nation’s military and diplomacy efforts. Manning garnered immense media attention for the vastness of her whistleblowing efforts. She gained later attention following her sentencing, for her announcement that she was transgender and would begin to identify as Chelsea.

Thanks to the work of the American Civil Liberties Union on her behalf, the military began to provide Manning with cross-sex hormones. However, they did not allow her to grow her hair longer than military standards set for males, or allow her to visit a surgeon to discuss sex reassignment surgery. During her sentence, Manning attempted suicide twice.

“I appreciate the wonderful support that I have received from so many people across the world over these past years,” said Manning upon her release.

She continued:

“As I rebuild my life, I remind myself not to relive the past. The past will always affect me and I will keep that in mind while remembering that how it played out is only my starting point, not my final destination.”

As of May 17, more than $152,740 has been raised on GoFundMe for Chelsea Manning to use for “rent, utilities, health care, clothing, and other living expenses for the first year after she is released.”

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