On 17 May 2017, Chelsea Manning is set to be released from Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Manning has served nearly seven years of a 35 year sentence for leaking over 700,000 classified documents and videos to the site “Wiki-Leaks.” Manning served as an intelligence analyst while deployed to Iraq in 2009. Prior to President Obama leaving office, Manning requested clemency and it was granted, hence her release from prison in just a few short days.
Waiting for the appeals process to run its course, Manning will remain as an active duty Soldier, with the rank of Private. She will remain unpaid, however, and will have access to all medical benefits that comes along with being a service member. She will remain on excess leave as well.
Army spokesman, Dave Foster said this: ““Pvt. Manning is statutorily entitled to medical care while on excess leave in an active duty status, pending final appellate review.”
The decision is currently under appeal, but for the time being she will be able to receive the medical benefits that comes along with being on active duty. In addition to this, the transition surgery will be covered by the government according to Army officials.
Manning released her first statement since being granted clemency just last week: “For the first time, I can see a future for myself as Chelsea,” she said in the statement. “I can imagine surviving and living as the person who I am and can finally be in the outside world. Freedom used to be something that I dreamed of but never allowed myself to fully imagine.”
Manning was charged and convicted in a military court martial of 20 counts, including multiple violations of the Espionage Act, computer fraud, theft; however was acquitted of charges for aiding the enemy.
While incarcerated, Manning’s lawyers said she was subject to a violent environment, discrimination (not being allowed to wear a feminine style haircut), and being subjected to serving her time in an all male facility.
More to follow as the situation develops.