WikiLeaks welcomes Obama’s decision to commute Manning’s sentence.
Washington: Chelsea Manning, the transgender American soldier whose prison sentence President Barack Obama commuted on Tuesday, became a hero to anti-war activists and a villain to government officials outraged over her leaking of classified files.
Originally named Bradley, Ms Manning was convicted in August 2013 and sentenced to 35 years in prison for espionage and other offences after admitting to handing a massive trove of classified documents to the WikiLeaks website.
After sentencing, Ms Manning announced that she identified as female and later obtained legal authorisation to change her name and receive hormone therapy.
She remains, however, in an all-male military prison in Kansas, where she has been appealing her sentence. Ms Manning, 29, last year twice attempted suicide, and in September began a hunger strike to protest against what she said was the military’s refusal to treat her gender dysphoria. Five days later, she ended the protest after the US Army agreed to provide her with surgery.
That move followed a Pentagon decision to allow transgender troops to serve openly and to pay for related medical aid, including gender reassignment.
A native of Oklahoma who later moved to Wales, Ms Manning reportedly was taunted by other children for being a “geek,” and as a youth in Britain endured ridicule from classmates for being a young gay man.