Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Assange, Snowden applaud sentence commutation of Chelsea Manning

A file picture dated 10 June 2013 shows US Army Private Bradley Manning (R), who later changed his name to Chelsea Manning, arrives at the courtroom for the fourth day of his court-martial at Fort Meade, Maryland, USA. US President Obama on 17 January 2017 commuted convicted whistleblower Chelsea Manning’s remaining sentence to have her be freed on 17 May 2017. EFE

Washington, Jan 18 (EFE).- Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and former analyst of the United States National Security Agency Edward Snowden have applauded the commutation of the sentence of Chelsea Manning.

“Thank you to everyone who campaigned for Chelsea Manning’s clemency. Your courage & determination made the impossible possible,” said Assange through the Wikileaks account on Twitter, after US President Barack Obama commuted the sentence on Monday.

In 2010, Manning leaked to Assange secret documents (470,000 records from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, 250,000 messages from the US Department of State and other classified documents) triggering a setback for American diplomacy after Wikileaks published them.

Manning, then called Bradley, was arrested in June 2010 and sentenced to 35 years in prison in 2013.

At the Kansas military prison in which Manning is held, he underwent a sex change operation and attempted suicide on two occasions in recent months.

Julian Assange speaks to the media from a balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, Britain, 05 February 2016 (reissued 13 January 2017). According to a Wikleaks statement published on their twitter account on 12 January 2017, Assange has agreed to be extradited to the US if President Obama granted clemency to whistleblower Chelsea Manning. EFE

Assange, who has been living under political asylum in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, said last week that if Obama suspended the ex-soldier’s sentence he would surrender himself to US justice, a commitment that his lawyer, Melinda Taylor, reiterated Monday with “everything that (Assange) has said he’s standing by.”Manning’s sentence commutation was also welcomed by Snowden, who in 2013 leaked details of wide-ranging national and international espionage programs and took refuge in Russia to avoid prosecution in the USA.

“Let it be said here in earnest, with good heart: Thanks, Obama,” Snowden tweeted.

Snowden had also asked Obama to pardon him but his plea was rejected prompting Snowden to flee to Russia.

The NSA ex-analyst further tweeted a message to Manning saying “In five more months, you will be free. Thank you for what you did for everyone, Chelsea. Stay strong a while longer!”