Chelsea Manning released from prison after Obama commuted 35 year sentence

Chelsea Manning
Chelsea Manning has been released from prison

Wikileaks leaker Chelsea Manning has been released from prison after serving seven years of a 35-year sentence.

President Barack Obama commuted the 35-year sentence handed down to the U.S Army soldier as one of his last acts before leaving office in January.

According to The BBC, a spokesperson for the US Army confirmed Manning, 29, left Fort Leavenworth military prison, the only maximum-security facility run by the Pentagon,  in Kansas on Wednesday.

Bradley Manning
Manning in the U.S. Army

Manning, who served as an intelligence officer in Iraq, was arrested in 2010 after Wikileaks released 70,000 U.S. military and diplomatic classified documents into the public domain.

She was convicted of 17 out of 22 charges brought against her by court-martial in July 2013 for violating the Espionage act and was sentenced to nearly four decades behind bars.

Calls for Manning to be released increased last year after she attempted suicide twice and went on hunger strike after becoming fearful for her future as a transgender woman in a men’s prison.

The day after sentencing, Manning’s lawyer released a statement disclosing that she identified as a woman and should be referred to as such. In April 2014 she legally changed her name from Bradley, to Chelsea Elizabeth Manning.

Now she has been released from prison, she will be free to undergo gender reassignment surgery.

Obama commuted the sentence on January 17, just three days before Trump was sworn into office. While the decision was heavily criticized by conservatives, Obama insisted he felt “very comfortable that justice has been served”.

Asked about the controversial decision during his final White House press conference, he said: “Let’s be clear: Chelsea Manning has served a tough prison sentence.

“The notion that the average person who is thinking about disclosing vital classified information would think that it goes unpunished … I don’t think would get that impression from the sentence that Chelsea Manning has served.”