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Chelsea Manning petitions for commutation of 35-year sentence

Sentenced for leaking government secrets, Manning is seeking a commutation from President Barack Obama.

By
Ed Adamczyk
Chelsea Manning, here in a 2008 self-portrait, asked President Barack Obama for a commutation of her 35-year prison sentence for espionage. Photo courtesy the U.S. Army
Chelsea Manning, here in a 2008 self-portrait, asked President Barack Obama for a commutation of her 35-year prison sentence for espionage. Photo courtesy the U.S. Army

FORT LEAVENWORTH , Kan., Nov. 14 (UPI) -- Chelsea Manning, serving a 35-year prison term for leaking government documents, asked for a commutation of her sentence, her lawyer said.

A statement accompanying her petition to President Barack Obama noted she seeks a commutation to the six years she has already served in prison, The New York Times reported Monday, citing her lawyer.

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"I am not asking for a pardon of my conviction. 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," Manning wrote.

She also described several of her problems, which include at least two suicide attempts; emotional turmoil over gender dysphoria while serving with the U.S. Army in Iraq, which ended with gender reassignment surgery, and the harsh conditions of prison life.

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In the petition she suggested that an early release, and not a pardon, will ensure she will continue receiving treatment for her suicidal impulses.

As Pfc. Bradley Manning, an intelligence analyst in Iraq, she copied hundreds of thousands of incident logs from the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as a quarter million diplomatic cables from U.S. embassies, dossiers about Guantanamo inmates and other sensitive information. She later sent them to WikiLeaks, which published them on the internet. She pleaded guilty at a 2010 court-martial, and was later convicted of violating several counts of the World War I-era Espionage Act. A 35-year sentence, considerably longer than any sentence imposed on others convicted of leaking government secrets, followed; most of those convicted received sentences no longer than three and one-half years.

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