*With three days left in office, President Barack Obama hustled out more commutations on Tuesday, shortening the sentences of 209 more inmates and issuing 64 additional pardons.
Among those receiving commuted sentences is former US Army soldier Chelsea Manning, who was convicted of stealing and disseminating 750,000 pages of documents and videos to WikiLeaks.
Manning, a transgender woman formerly known as Bradley Manning, was serving a 35-year sentence at Fort Leavenworth, an all-male Army prison in eastern Kansas, despite her request to transfer to a civilian prison.
Chase Strangio, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, which represented Manning, said he was “relieved and thankful” Obama commuted her sentence.
“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,” Strangio said in a statement. “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.”
When asked about WikiLeaks in the wake of the releases, President-elect Donald Trump told Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade in 2010: “I think it’s disgraceful. I think there should be like death penalty or something.”
A White House statement on Tuesday said Manning’s prison sentence is set to expire on May 17.
The President also pardoned James Cartwright, the former vice chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, who pleaded guilty in October to a single charge of making false statements to federal investigators in 2012 when he was questioned about leaking top secret information on US efforts to cripple Iran’s nuclear program to two journalists.