Petition to Commute Chelsea Manning's Sentence Has Enough Signatures to Force Response From White House

Photo: AP
Photo: AP

Chelsea Manning’s formal petition requesting President Obama reduce the remainder of her 35-year prison sentence surpassed 100,000 signatures on Saturday and now necessitates a response from the White House.

The petition was created on November 14, according to NBC News, but the fight to get Manning’s outlandishly harsh sentence commuted and improve her living conditions in prison has been active since 2010.

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The American Civil Liberties Union wrote in a letter cosigned by more than a dozen LGBT rights groups, “The sole relief that Ms. Manning is seeking is to be released from military prison after serving over six years in confinement—longer than any whistleblower in the history of our country.”

These sentiments echo those expressed in Manning’s letter, a portion of which reads:

“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 I 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.”

Your move, Obama.

contributing writer, nights

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DISCUSSION

adrastra
Adrastra, patron saint of not giving a fuck

In light of WikiLeaks’s involvement in this election cycle, I highly doubt her sentence will be commuted any time soon. Even though the information she released has nothing to do with the election (obviously, having be in prison for the last six years), Manning’s leaked documents really put WikiLeaks on the map.

I know this will be a controversial opinion, but Manning knew what she was doing at the time. She leaked information that endangered the lives of sources and others. Her intentions here don’t matter—she is smart, worked in intelligence, and absolutely knew this was a potential consequence of her actions. While I do believe that her living conditions in prison have been poor (although what prison living conditions are not, these days), I certainly don’t think her sentence’s commutation is something that will be considered lightly, nor should it.