Chelsea Manning will be released from prison next week, on schedule with a January statement made by the White House. The release comes five months after former President Barrack Obama commuted her 35-year sentence for leaking military documents, as one of his final acts.
Over the course of her incarceration, there’s been serious public scrutiny over the way Manning has been treated as a transgender woman in an all-male prison. While there, she’s attempted suicide twice, landing her in solitary confinement. She’s also gone on a five-day hunger strike, lasting until the U.S. Military finally agreed to begin the process of her gender transition.
Freedom was only a dream, and hard to imagine. Now it’s here! You kept me alive <3 https://t.co/abkGoA3fOi
— Chelsea Manning (@xychelsea) May 9, 2017
In a statement expressing relief over the end of her sentence, Chelsea thanked her supporters.
“For the first time, I can see a future for myself as Chelsea,” she wrote. “I can imagine surviving and living as the person who I am and can finally be in the outside world. Freedom used to be something that I dreamed of but never allowed myself to fully imagine,” she added. “Now, freedom is something that I will again experience with friends and loved ones after nearly seven years of bars and cement, of periods of solitary confinement, and of my health care and autonomy restricted, including through routinely forced haircuts. I am forever grateful to the people who kept me alive, President Obama, my legal team and countless supporters.”