Chelsea Manning has walked out of a USA military prison, seven years after being arrested for passing secrets to WikiLeaks in the largest breach of classified information in USA history.
Manning's immediate plans, including living arrangements, remained unclear.
Former President Obama, as one of his final and more controversial acts in office, commuted the remainder of Manning's sentence, saying he believed 35-years was disproportionate to what other leakers have received and that justice had been served. "I'm figuring things out right now-which is exciting, awkward, fun and all new for me".
Credit: Amy GranthamGraham Nash is among the many musicians who have contributed songs to Hugs for Chelsea, a benefit album to support Chelsea Manning, who was released from military prison Wednesday morning after seven years of incarceration. As I rebuild my life, I remind myself not to relive the past. Obama overrode his secretary of defense in doing so.
WikiLeaks posts a classified military video shot from the cockpit of an Apache helicopter showing a group of men being gunned down in Baghdad by American airmen.
Manning was acquitted of "aiding the enemy" by a military judge, but was convicted on several violations of the Espionage Act.
The New York Times reports that Manning was "sentenced to an unprecedented 35-year prison term for disclosing archives of secret files to WikiLeaks", some of which the newspaper published, but was not criminally charged for doing so.More news: James odd man out as National Basketball Association announces MVP finalists
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Manning said she wanted to expose what she considered to be the USA military's disregard of the effects of war on civilians and that she released information that she didn't believe would harm the U.S. (Manning was deployed in Iraq in the time).
Bradley Manning, was sentenced 35 years in prison in 2013 for leaking classified information to WikiLeaks. These however were not classified as "top secret", and Manning is seen as a whistleblower by her supporters.
"I think he or she should not have been released as soon", said Marian Onamer. The military also allowed her to begin taking hormones in 2013.
Manning will be on "excess leave" - meaning she is considered to be off-duty - while her court-martial conviction is under appellate review, an Army spokeswoman, Lt. Col. Jennifer Johnson, said.
"It's going to be a profound change for her", Evan Greer, a friend of Manning, told AFP.
Manning was convicted under the Espionage Act, a World War I era law that was meant to stop people from supporting enemies of the US during wartime. The lawsuit claims Manning is at a high risk of self-castration and suicide unless she receives more focused treatment for gender dysphoria, and that she is getting psychotherapy from a mental health specialist who lacks the qualifications to treat gender dysphoria.
The soldier was actually born Bradley Manning, but revealed after being sentenced to prison that she always felt like a woman and wanted to live her life as Chelsea rather than Bradley.