Thank you to all of you who took action urging Obama to commute Chelsea Manning’s sentence. It has just been announced that Obama has commuted Manning’s sentence and on May 17, 2017 she will walk free.
Today is a happy day for us. We helped to organize some of the first protests in support of Manning, and have long championed her release.
As a whistleblower, Manning enriched our democracy by making public information about misconduct, including war crimes, carried out by our government. She did so, because she wanted the public to have a more informed, more robust discussion about US foreign policy.
And she did, as evidenced by the number of journalists, academics, and activists who relied on the information she helped make public.
Manning paid a terrible price though, one which she should never have had to. She was sentenced to the outrageous sentence of 35 years in prison, the longest anyone ever faced for leaking information. On top of that, we know that the conditions of her pretrial confinement were torture and we know she continued to face and cruel and unusual conditions throughout her incarceration at the hands of the US government.
Manning is going free thanks thanks to the enormous public outcry in her favor. Her prosecution came in the context of an unprecedented war on whistleblowers waged by the Obama Administration. Without a movement organized from the grassroots up putting the government on notice that people had Chelsea Manning’s back it is unlikely that we would be celebrating today.
Chelsea Manning is going to come home.
And we could not be more happy.