Barack Obama commutes Chelsea Manning from all the charges, but what about Edward Snowden? As it turns out, the former US Intelligence contractor is now allowed by the Russia to stay in their country for two more years.
The 29-year-old Manning is a United States Army soldier convicted by the court-martial in early July 2013 of violations of the Espionage Act and leaking a quarter to million top-secret military and classified documents to WikiLeaks.
In August 2013, Manning was sentenced to 35 years of imprisonment but according to the latest report from New York Times, Chelsea Manning will be freed from the prison on May 17, 2017.
President Obama commuted all but 4 months of the remaining prison sentence of Chelsea Manning https://t.co/M3OoA6Dfj7
— The New York Times (@nytimes) January 18, 2017
A lawyer from the ACLU has also stated via Buzzfeed that Barack Obama’s decision to commute Chelsea Manning’s sentence could be a life-saving act as in her own clemency request, she stated that she does not wish to harm the United States of America in any which way.
“I am not asking for a pardon of my conviction. I understand that the various collateral consequences of the court-martial conviction will stay on my record forever. The sole relief am asking for is to be released from military prison after serving six years of confinement as a person who did not intend to harm the interests of the United States or harm any service members.”
On the other hand, the 33-year-old Snowden is wanted in the United States of America for two counts of violating the Espionage Act and the theft of government property after he leaked thousands of highly classified documents in 2013. Through the leaked documents, Snowden revealed the vast US surveillance of private data put in place by the administration after the 9/11 attacks.
Many of Snowden’s supporters believe for a fact that if in coming two days, Barack Obama would not pardon him, then there are chances that he may face the death penalty by Donald Trump’s administration. Although, Snowden himself stated in 2016 that he is not at all worried about Barack Obama’s successors and still stood by his decision to leak those classified materials.
“I don’t care,” he said to the assembled conference in November. “The reality here is that yes, Donald Trump has appointed a new director of the Central Intelligence Agency who uses me as a specific example to say that, look, dissidents should be put to death.”
“But if I get hit by a bus, or a drone, or dropped off an airplane tomorrow, you know what? It doesn’t actually matter that much to me, because I believe in the decisions that I’ve already made.”
Edward Snowden’s supporters should not be worried about the famous whistleblowers future. A Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, confirmed in a recent Facebook post that his residency in Russia has been extended by another couple of years.
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
Earlier this week, when Barack Obama’s administration commuted Chelsea Manning from all the charges, many whistleblowers supporters were hoping to see some good news for Edward Snowden. However, White House spokesman, Joshua Earnest, comments on commuting Manning’s sentence and contrasting it to the subject of granting a pardon to Snowden made it clear that there are very slim chances that Snowden will be pardoned by the American government anytime soon.
“Chelsea Manning is somebody who went through the military criminal justice process, was exposed to due process, was found guilty, was sentenced for her crimes, and she acknowledged wrongdoing,” Earnest said. “Mr. Snowden fled into the arms of an adversary, and has sought refuge in a country that most recently made a concerted effort to undermine confidence in our democracy.”
[Featured Image by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]