President Obama just commuted or reduced Chelsea Manning’s judicial sentence from 35 years to 7 years, as she has already served most of this she just has four months to serve. Presidents usually commute a number of sentences towards the end of their term but this is a very controversial commute. Chelsea Manning when she was convicted in 2010 was Bradley Manning an Army Intelligence analyst who was found guilty of the largest leak of confidential US National Security information to WikiLeaks.
WikiLeaks (no connection to Wikipedia) is a ‘not-for profit media organization’ launched in 2006. Its function is to disseminate credible, original evidence from anonymous sources that it feels the general public should know about. Julian Assange is the editor-in-chief of Wikileaks who sought sanctuary in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London after the leaks had recently said that if President Obama showed Chelsea Manning some clemency he would agree to extradition to the US.
This could be the reason that President Obama agreed to commute Chelsea Manning’s sentence or it could be because of the support for Chelsea Manning. Her supporters believe that the 35 year sentence was unprecedented in US history, especially as she was more of a whistleblower than a traitor. Also as Bradley Manning came out as transgender in prison and changed her identity to Chelsea – her life in a male prison was in danger.
This commutation of Manning’s sentence is very controversial as Manning’s leaks revealed American military and diplomatic activities around the world and even endangered US informants in places like Afghanistan.
With the issue of privacy being such point of debate around the world this is an interesting decision.