Chelsea Manning, the U.S. soldier convicted of leaking hundreds of thousands of confidential documents to WikiLeaks, has formally appealed to President Obama regarding her 35-year sentence.
The army private formerly known as Bradley Manning has written to Obama and the secretary of the army, John McHugh, asking for her sentence to be reduced to the more than three years' time she has already served.
"I will serve my time knowing that sometimes you have to pay a heavy price to live in a free society. I will gladly pay that price if it means we could have a country that is truly conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all women and men are created equal," Manning said in the letter.
Manning said her decision to leak information to Julian Assange's anti-secrecy site was "out of a concern for [her] country and the world that we live in."
"It was never my intent to hurt anyone. I only wanted to help people."
Manning's lawyer David Coombs criticized the 35-year sentence in a cover letter to the appeal, saying that it "grossly exaggerates" the severity of Manning's conduct.
"It will undoubtedly have a chilling effect on future whistleblowers and damage the public's perception of military justice," Coombs said.
Manning will begin her sentence at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas, where Coombs said she is doing well. Shortly after her sentencing, Coombs revealed that Manning wanted to live as a woman and change her name from Bradley to Chelsea.
She has thus far been denied hormone treatment behind bars, even after offering to pay for them herself.
Unless Manning is pardoned, the earliest she could be considered for parole would be after seven years.