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President Obama Grants Commutation of Sentence to Chelsea Manning

President Obama Grants Commutation of Sentence to Chelsea Manning

WASHINGTON, DC — The Obama administration announced today the commutation of Chelsea Manning’s sentence for disclosing classified information that raised public awareness regarding the impact of war on innocent civilians. Manning will reportedly be freed in May 2017.

“I’m relieved and thankful that the president is doing the right thing and commuting Chelsea Manning’s sentence,” said Chase Strangio, a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union’s LGBT Project representing Manning. “Since she was first taken into custody, Chelsea has been subjected to long stretches of solitary confinement — including for attempting suicide — and has been denied access to medically necessary health care. This move could quite literally save Chelsea’s life, and we are all better off knowing that Chelsea Manning will walk out of prison a free woman, dedicated to making the world a better place and fighting for justice for so many.”

Manning, a transgender woman, is in the seventh year of an unprecedented 35-year sentence and has been forced to serve her sentence in an all-male prison. The ACLU previously filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of the appeal of Manning’s conviction, arguing that the prosecution of Manning under the Espionage Act violated the Constitution because it leads to prosecutions where a court gives no consideration to the public interest. The ACLU also argued that such cases give the government too much leeway to selectively prosecute disfavored speakers.

Nancy Hollander and Vince Ward, Manning’s appellate counselors, said in a joint statement, “Ms. Manning is the longest serving whistleblower in the history of the United States. Her 35-year sentence for disclosing information that served the public interest and never caused harm to the United States was always excessive, and we’re delighted that justice is being served in the form of this commutation.”

Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight for the Future, who has been an ardent supporter of Chelsea’s and speaks to her on the phone on a regular basis said, “Chelsea’s release is massive victory for free speech, human rights, and democracy. As someone who has become friends with Chelsea over the last year, but has never had a chance to see her face or give her a hug, I’m overjoyed that she will be able to share her beautiful self with the world. She has so much to offer, and her freedom will be a testament to the power of grassroots organizing. I’m so excited for the world to get to know her as the compassionate, intelligent, and kind person who she is.”

The president’s decision comes after an outpouring of support for Manning since her unfair and egregious sentence and the ongoing mistreatment throughout her incarceration. In December, the ACLU and over a dozen other LGBT groups sent a letter to President Obama urging him to grant clemency to Manning, and an official White House petition with the same request secured over 100,000 signatures.

The ACLU has represented Manning in a lawsuit against the Department of Defense that was first filed in 2014 over the department’s refusal to treat Manning’s well-documented gender dysphoria.

Thousands Online Want to Give Chelsea Manning a Hug

Thousands Online Want to Give Chelsea Manning a Hug

Following reports that Chelsea Manning is on President Obama’s “short list” for a possible commutation, the Internet has exploded with support for the imprisoned transgender transparency advocate. Over the weekend, thousands of people started taking part in a spontaneous #HugsForChelsea campaign, posting photos of themselves with their arms outstretched as if waiting to give Chelsea Manning a hug, calling for President Obama to grant her clemency. Some prominent individuals including Michael Stipe of REM, Dustin Kensrue of Thrice, and the punk band Anti-Flag, have joined the effort.

See a selection of #HugsForChelsea photos here, see the landing page for the campaign here.

“Chelsea has so much love and support coming from people across the political spectrum,” said Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight for the Future, who posted the first #HugsForChelsea photo, “She has suffered enough. People are coming out of the woodwork to speak out. President Obama needs to do the right thing and free her now. After getting to know her as one of her supporters over the last year, I personally can’t wait to give her a hug.”

“As President Obama’s days in office wind down, people from all walks of life are standing in solidarity with Chelsea and urging the President to save her before it is too late,” said Chase Strangio, Chelsea’s ACLU attorney. “After years of suffering in prison under horrific conditions including long stretches of solitary confinement, the denial of health care for gender dysphoria and arbitrary punishments including for attempting suicide, Chelsea needs to be set free before this treatment results in her death.”

Background:

  1. More than 100,000 people signed an official Whitehouse.gov petition, meeting the threshold to require a response from the President.
  2. Hundreds of thousands have signed previous petitions organized by Fight for the Future and other groups decrying Chelsea’s treatment while in prison
  3. The ACLU and more than a dozen prominent LGBT organizations sent a letter to President Obama calling for Chelsea’s commutation
  4. Amnesty International sent a letter to President Obama, and supporters sent over 25,000 emails to the White House.
  5. Human Rights Watch sent a letter to President Obama supporting clemency
  6. Dozens of other human rights, free speech, government transparency, and civil liberties organizations have called for Chelsea’s release
  7. A wide range of notable people have publicly supported Chelsea including Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, retired U.S. Air Force Colonel Morris C. Davis, journalist Glenn Greenwald, Sean Ono Lennon, REM lead singer Michael Stipe, comedian Margaret Cho, Thurston Moore, Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine,, and many others.
  8. Learn more at FreeChelsea.com, and follow Chelsea on Twitter at @xychelsea
Chelsea Manning Reportedly on President Obama’s ‘Short List’ for Commutation

Chelsea Manning Reportedly on President Obama’s ‘Short List’ for Commutation

NBC News is reporting that Chelsea Manning, who has served 7 years of a 35 year sentence, is on President Obama’s “short list” for commutation.

Chelsea Manning’s attorney at the ACLU, Chase Strangio, said:

“The Obama administration has done many commendable things to protect the rights of LGBTQ people, but in the case of Chelsea Manning they have systematically mistreated her and denied her access to medically recommended gender-related health care. Chelsea won’t survive another 5 years in prison, much less another 30. President Obama has 9 days to do the right thing and commute her sentence. The world is watching, and we hope that he stands on the side of justice, and that his legacy will be one of standing up for trans people’s rights, not having extinguished one of our community’s brightest lights.”

Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight for the Future, said:

“Chelsea Manning is a compassionate, thoughtful, brilliant human being whose actions have always been motivated by the same thing: her desire to help people and make the world a better place. She has suffered enough. President Obama should act now to right this wrong before it’s too late.”

If the NBC News report is accurate and President Obama moves to commute Manning’s sentence, he will be responding to overwhelming public outcry about Chelsea’s mistreatment while incarcerated.

– More than 100,000 people signed an official Whitehouse.gov petition, meeting the threshold to require a response from the President.

– Hundreds of thousands have signed previous petitions organized by Fight for the Future and other groups decrying Chelsea’s treatment while in prison

– The ACLU and more than a dozen prominent LGBT organizations sent a letter to President Obama calling for Chelsea’s commutation

– Amnesty International sent a letter to President Obama, and supporters sent over 25,000 emails to the White House

– Dozens of other human rights, free speech, government transparency, and civil liberties organizations have called for Chelsea’s release

– A wide range of notable people have publicly supported Chelsea including Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, retired U.S. Air Force Colonel Morris C. Davis, journalist Glenn Greenwald, Sean Ono Lennon, REM lead singer Michael Stipe, comedian Margaret Cho, Thurston Moore, Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine,, and many others.

Learn more at FreeChelsea.com & follow Chelsea on Twitter at @xychelsea

100,000+ Supporters Urge President Obama to Commute Chelsea Manning’s Sentence

100,000+ Supporters Urge President Obama to Commute Chelsea Manning’s Sentence

On Saturday, the 10th, the petition on the WeThePeople platform in support of Chelsea Manning accumulated over 100,000 signatures, four days before the December 14th deadline. The goal was reached in time to garner a response from the White House to their call for President Obama to act now to commute Chelsea’s sentence. Manning is in the seventh year of a 35-year sentence and was subjected to in unlawful pretrial solitary confinement for nearly a year.

Read the petition HERE

Chase Strangio, an attorney for Chelsea Manning stated: “After six and a half years in custody, including the torture of solitary confinement for almost a year, the ongoing denial of her basic human dignity and medically necessary health care, it is time for Chelsea Manning to be freed. President Obama can give Chelsea perhaps her only chance to live as the woman that she is and he must act to save her. The ACLU, other leading LGBTQ rights organizations, and over 100,000 people across the country have come together to say, ‘enough is enough.’ Commute Chelsea’s sentence so we don’t have to mourn her untimely death in the coming years.”

More information on the clemency campaign: FreeChelsea.com

Last week, The American Civil Liberties Union and over a dozen LGBTQ groups sent a letter to President Obama urging the commutation of Chelsea Manning’s sentence for disclosing classified information to the media to raise public awareness regarding the impact of war on innocent civilians. Amnesty International also sent a letter to President Obama supporting the commutation of Chelsea Manning’s sentence to the time she has already served in prison.

Vincent Ward, appellate counsel for Chelsea Manning said, “Chelsea has already served six long years for her bravery in attempting to provide the transparency president Obama promised. It is past time for him to order the Army to commute her sentence to time served.”

Last month, Chelsea Manning’s legal defense team released a letter sent to the U.S. Army and the Office of the Pardon Attorney, requesting the commutation of Ms. Manning’s 35 year court-martial sentence to time served and “a first chance to live a real, meaningful life.”

“Chelsea Manning poses a danger to no one. She is a brilliant, humble, and compassionate human being, and the world would be a better place if she were released,” explains Evan Greer, Campaign Director for Fight For The Future, in her Op-Ed for the Huffington Post. “No one should have to endure the suffering that she has endured. It’s time for this to end.”

David Segal, Executive Director of Demand Progress stated: “Chelsea Manning has been in prison for longer than any other person in United States history who disclosed information in the public interest–and much of her time there has been spent under particularly inhumane conditions.  It’s surely time for her to be released–the alternative is a life behind bars for actions that did not harm anyone.”

Text of the petition

Commute Chelsea Manning’s Sentence to Time Served

Chelsea Manning has been incarcerated since May 2010, including in unlawful, unusually harsh solitary confinement for 11 months before her trial. She has spent the past six years helping others.

Chelsea has already served more time in prison than any individual in United States history who disclosed information in the public interest. Her disclosures harmed no one.

President Obama, as you and the medical community have recognized, prisoners who face solitary confinement are more likely to commit suicide.

Chelsea is a woman in a men’s facility facing ongoing mistreatment. She has attempted suicide and has been punished with additional time in solitary confinement for her desperation. Her life is at risk and you can save her.

Please commute Chelsea Manning’s sentence to time served.

Additional resources

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ACLU and LGBT Groups Call on President Obama to Grant Clemency To Chelsea Manning

ACLU and LGBT Groups Call on President Obama to Grant Clemency To Chelsea Manning

WASHINGTON, DC — The American Civil Liberties Union and over a dozen LGBT groups sent a letter to President Barack Obama today urging the commutation of Chelsea Manning’s sentence for disclosing classified information to the media to raise public awareness regarding the impact of war on innocent civilians. Manning is in the seventh year of a 35-year sentence.

Ian Thompson, ACLU legislative representative, offered the following statement:

“Ms. Manning is the longest serving whistleblower in the history of the United States. Granting her clemency petition will give Ms. Manning a first chance to live a real, meaningful life as the person she was born to be.”

The letter reads, “Manning, a transgender woman who is being forced to serve out her sentence in an all-male prison, has been subjected to long stretches of solitary confinement – including for attempting suicide – and denied necessary medical treatment related to her gender dysphoria. The Army even opposed her request to use her legal name and to be referred to by female pronouns. While the armed forces have finally opened the door to transgender men and women who wish to serve, the government has continually fought Ms. Manning’s efforts to be treated with basic dignity.”

The following groups signed the letter:

American Civil Liberties Union
BiNet USA
COLAGE
Family Equality Council
FORGE, Inc.
GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders
Immigration Equality
KhushDC
Lambda Legal
League of United Latin American Citizens
Los Angeles LGBT Center
National Black Justice Coalition
National Center for Lesbian Rights
National LGBTQ Task Force
National Organization for Women
Pride at Work
Transgender Law Center

The letter can be found HERE

A petition on the White House’s “We the People” platform, asking President Obama to commute Chelsea Manning’s sentence to time served, has garnered over 40,000 signatures. Last week, Amnesty International sent a letter to President Obama also supporting that Chelsea Manning’s sentence be commuted to the time she has already served in prison.

For more information, please visit: https://www.freechelsea.com