Chelsea Manning Leaves Prison a Free Woman

U.S. Army private first class soldier Chelsea Manning was released from prison on Wednesday, May 17, after seven years behind bars for leaking military intelligence reports and documents to WikiLeaks in 2010.

USA Today reported Manning will remain an active-duty, unpaid soldier, eligible for health care and other benefits while her court-martial conviction remains under appeal.

Former president Barack Obama commuted the final 28 years of Manning's 35-year sentence in the final days of his second term in office.

Chelsea Manning, the transgender woman incarcerated for the past seven years for leaking confidential documents. Notably, the files she leaked contained information about thousands of civilian deaths that the government had kept secret, and showed that the US government did not properly investigate claims of abuse against Iraqi soldiers and police. The newly-minted Chelsea Manning successfully lobbied the federal government for the right to receive hormone therapy to transition to a woman while serving her sentence.

The ACLU release contained a brief, forward-looking statement from Manning: "I'm figuring things out right now - which is exciting, awkward, fun and all new for me".

It was retweeted nearly 7,000 times in the first hour after it emerged online, and received more than 1,000 likes on her newly set up Instagram account.

Manning said she released the documents to WikiLeaks because she felt the USA military was ignoring the trauma that many civilians suffered from as a result of war.

The film, "XY Chelsea", by director Tim Travers Hawkins and co-produced by Oscar victor Laura Poitras, will start filming with Manning later Wednesday "as she walks free and begins to tell her story", Pulse said in a statement.

Chelsea Manning was released from Fort Leavenworth in the dead of night with no fanfare according to a U.S. Army official.

"First steps of freedom!" she wrote on Instagram alongside a smiling emoji and the hashtag "chelseaisfree". Neither she nor her attorneys explained why, but she has an aunt who lives there.

Manning acknowledged leaking the materials, saying she wanted to expose what she considered to be the United States military's disregard of the effects of war on civilians.

He was convicted of several violations of the Espionage Act. Funds will also be raised for her at parties scheduled for tonight in Boston, Chicago, Oklahoma City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, Ore., and Berkeley, Calif., as well as New Zealand, Israel, Germany, Ireland, and England, notes a press release from Chicago's Gay Liberation Network.

  • Leroy Wright