U.S. Army Pvt. Chelsea Manning, who leaked 700,000 classified documents to WikiLeaks, was released from prison today after seven years of confinement. Manning had been sentenced to a record-holding 35 years in prison for leaking the classified documents, but President Barack Obama had commuted her sentence in his final days in office.
Manning intends to move to Maryland, according to The New York Times, but friends and advocates would not give the media more details about her release in order for Manning to privately readjust to life outside of prison. Manning, born with the name Bradley Manning, came out as a trans woman and began transitioning from within the male military prison. In that environment, Manning struggled, and twice attempted suicide.
“I look forward to working with her in the coming days and weeks to provide her with the support and stability she wants and needs to heal and plan out the next stages of her life,” said Chase Strangio, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer for Manning, to the Times. “The traumas of the past few years will not simply evaporate when she walks out of the prison.”
Despite keeping her privacy, Manning did post a celebratory picture on social media about her release.
Manning’s leak made WikiLeaks an internationally known entity and brought to light classified information pertaining to the Iraq War. Notably, the files she leaked contained information about thousands of civilian deaths that the government had kept secret, and showed that the U.S. government did not properly investigate claims of abuse against Iraqi soldiers and police.
[Image: U.S. Army]