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Chelsea Manning on Obama's short list for commutation

By KEVIN TAMPONE | Syracuse Media Group, N.Y. (Tribune News Service) | Published: January 11, 2017

Chelsea Manning, the former U.S. Army soldier imprisoned for passing government documents to WikiLeaks, is on President Obama's short list for possible commutation, according to NBC News.

NBC's report cited a source in the Justice Department.

A decision could come soon for Manning, who tried to commit suicide and went on a hunger strike last year to demand better treatment in prison.

Manning, 28, is serving a 35-year sentence in the military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. She pleaded guilty in 2013 to 10 charges related to theft and espionage.

Manning stole over 750,000 pages of classified and unclassified military documents, including videos of airstrikes, war logs and diplomatic cables. She then passed them to WikiLeaks.

Manning, previously known has Bradley, revealed herself as transgender in 2013.

Manning's supporters believe her harsh sentence is related in part to NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who leaked far more sensitive materials to WikiLeaks, according to NBC. Manning's aunt, Deborah Manning, told NBC she believes her niece served as a scapegoat for Snowden.

Snowden fled before he could be arrested. He eventually ended up in Russia and has been there since.

He has also asked Obama for clemency and tweeted his support of Manning earlier today.

Manning launched her hunger strike last year with several demands, including assurances that she would receive all recommended treatments for her gender dysphoria.

Deborah Manning said she hoped Obama would consider Manning's troubled upbringing, struggles with gender identity and remorse, according to NBC. Manning apologized for her actions before her sentencing.

"I would say this is someone who's never had a chance in life, who is extremely bright, who became extremely emotionally distressed at some point, who made a bad decision, who paid for that bad decision," Deborah Manning said, according to NBC. "And it's time to let her go out and try to make a positive contribution to the world."

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An undated file photo of Pfc. Chelsea Manning, provided by the U.S. Army.
U.S. ARMY

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