Tag Archives: #freechelsea

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.

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

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

The Sentencing of Chelsea Manning: Alexa O’Brien’s Exclusive Interview with Attorney David Coombs

Fort Meade, MD — On August 21, 2013 The Sparrow Project partnered with Jeff Wirth of Burning Hearts Media to produce Alexa O’Brien’s exclusive interview with David Coombs, lead civilian counsel for Private First Class Manning. An excerpt of this interview aired that afternoon on Huffpost Live and was cross-published on The Huffington Post. The next morning, 40 minutes of this interview aired on Democracy Now!. The following is Alexa’s interview with David in its entirety available for embed or download. We welcome bloggers and media outlets to use this footage as it is the only comprehensive long-form interview with Manning’s counsel and sheds an important light on one of the most historic and heartbreaking cases of whistleblower prosecution to date.

As Judge Denise Lind handed down a sentence of 35 years to Pfc. Manning the press pool was already framing the narrative of how the sentence would be reported upon from that moment forward. The prospect of Manning being paroled after 7 years (a hopeful one at best), words like “leniency”, and a misplaced infatuation with Manning’s private life started to bloat and leave little room for the ugly truth. Namely, that a young whistleblower who exposed war crimes was sentenced to decades in prison. A sentence which relied in part on a draconian application of the 1917 espionage act. This reflex by the media to eschew the complexities and embrace convenient or sensational headlines is why an interview with Manning’s Attorney on his terms with the journalist of his choosing was so important.

Regarding the use of male pronouns *

During the pretrial proceedings, Court Martial and sentencing of Pfc. Manning, Chelsea requested to be identified as Bradley and addressed using the male pronoun. In a letter embargoed for August 21, 2013 Chelsea proclaimed that she is female and wished to be addressed from that moment forward as Chelsea E. Manning. This interview pre-dates Chelsea’s public announcement.