New York: Former US Army officer Chelsea Manning today thanked outgoing US President Barack Obama for commuting her 35-year prison sentence for leaking classified military documents.
“Thank you @BarackObama for giving me a chance. =,),” Manning tweeted.
In a surprise decision, Obama commuted Manning’s prison term just days before he hands over the baton of the US Presidency to Donald Trump.
Amid severe criticism, Obama defended his decision to commute the 35-year sentence of the trans-gender solider, arguing that she has served a tough jail term.
“Lets be clear, Chelsea Manning has served a tough prison sentence. So the notion that the average person who was thinking about disclosing vital, classified information would think that it goes unpunished I dont think would get that impression from the sentence that Chelsea Manning has served,” Obama told reporters at his last news conference.
Manning was convicted of stealing hundreds of thousands of documents and videos before leaking them to WikiLeaks. She had requested to be transfered to a civilian prison after being sent to Fort Leavenworth, an all-male Army prison in eastern Kansas.
Her prison sentence will now end on May 17.