With the news that Chelsea Manning will be released from prison on May 17, Edward Snowden has thanked everyone who has campaigned for clemency on behalf of Manning and said that those people helped to make her release possible. Edward Snowden also thanked Barack Obama and told Chelsea Manning to “stay strong” for just a little while longer.
Chelsea Manning is the U.S. army soldier who became a whistleblower after alerting the world to what was really happening in Iraq and Afghanistan and was given a 35-year military prison sentence because of the alleged leaking of U.S. state secrets. However, President Obama has agreed to her release as a parting gift as he leaves office, The Guardian reports.
In five more months, you will be free. Thank you for what you did for everyone, Chelsea. Stay strong a while longer! https://t.co/PaLvJDvDbl
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) January 17, 2017
Three days before President Obama is set to leave the White House, he decided to use the constitutional powers that he has to give Chelsea Manning her freedom again in May. She will leave the military prison she is confined to in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas nearly seven years after she was originally arrested near Baghdad at Forward Operating Base Hammer, where she was working as an intelligence analyst. Manning was charged with 22 counts related to the leaking of documents to WikiLeaks, which included aiding the enemy.
Chelsea Manning’s lawyer, Nancy Hollander, was so overjoyed about the news of Manning’s release that she spoke to The Guardian about it before Chelsea was alerted.
“I cannot believe it. In 120 days she will be free and it will all be over. It’s incredible.”
In 2012, The Guardian reported that the UN special rapporteur that deals with torture accused the government of the United States of “cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment” in their dealings with Chelsea Manning. After a 14-month investigation into Manning’s treatment since she was arrested, Juan Mendez concluded that keeping Chelsea locked up and confined for a 23-hour period over 11 months constituted what the UN called torture.
“The special rapporteur concludes that imposing seriously punitive conditions of detention on someone who has not been found guilty of any crime is a violation of his right to physical and psychological integrity as well as of his presumption of innocence. I conclude that the 11 months under conditions of solitary confinement (regardless of the name given to his regime by the prison authorities) constitutes at a minimum cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment in violation of article 16 of the convention against torture. If the effects in regards to pain and suffering inflicted on Manning were more severe, they could constitute torture.”
Over 250 legal scholars in the United States signed a letter in 2011 that protested against Manning’s treatment, which included being made to strip naked each night. One of the signatories of the letter was Harvard professor Laurence Tribe, who is widely thought to be the highest liberal authority when it comes to constitutional law. Tribe once taught constitutional law to President Barack Obama and was part of his administration.
Chelsea Manning’s release comes at a very welcome time as she has been facing extremely difficult times with her morale, having tried to commit suicide last year. After her suicide attempt, she was put into solitary confinement again as punishment. Under Barack Obama, Chelsea Manning was given a longer custodial sentence as a whistleblower than any other living in modern times.
Are you happy Barack Obama has finally pardoned Chelsea Manning and were you surprised when you heard the news?
[Featured Image by Uncredited/AP Images]