Chelsea Manning releases 1st statement since clemency win

"For the first time, I can see a future for myself as Chelsea", Manning said in a written statement.

"Like far too many people in prison, particularly transgender women, Chelsea Manning has had to survive unthinkable violence throughout the seven years of her incarceration".

The transgender USA army private, born Bradley Manning, is due to be freed on 17 May, after former President Barack Obama commuted her sentence.

Manning's representatives told CNN that they could not provide an exact release date, but a White House statement in January said her sentence expires on May 17. "Now, freedom is something that I will again experience with friends and loved ones after almost seven years of bars and cement, of periods of solitary confinement, and of my healthcare and autonomy restricted, including through routinely forced haircuts", she said.

At his last press conference before leaving office in January, Obama was asked tough questions about his decision to commute Manning's sentence.

A former Army intelligence analyst and transgender woman, Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison after being convicted in 2013 of stealing 750,000 pages of documents and videos before leaking them to WikiLeaks - one of the largest and most embarrassing leaks of classified information in U.S. history. Manning recently issued a statement indicating that freedom was something she only dreamed of after receiving a 35 year sentence.

On Tuesday, she thanked her supporters, as well as President Obama for giving her the opportunity to be free. After being punished with solitary confinement for the first suicide attempt, Manning tried to commit suicide again in October.

Chelsea Manning is arrested in Iraq for disclosing information to Wikileaks that was ultimately published by The New York Times, The Guardian, and Der Spiegel.

Manning, who has been called an "ungrateful traitor" by President Donald Trump, said the support she received through letters kept her going.

Manning has been forced to serve her sentence in an all-male military prison despite a request to transfer to a civilian prison.

Manning was convicted in 2013 and sentenced to 35 years behind bars - the longest ever imposed for a leak conviction.

"Chelsea has already served the longest sentence of any whistleblower in the history of this country".

An ACLU spokesperson told NBC News that a lawsuit against the DoD over gender transition-related medical care is now "on hold" and will likely be dropped after her release.

  • Larry Hoffman