Chelsea Manning reportedly named on Obama's short list for sentence commutation
After being imprisoned for six years, there may be some hope for Chelsea Manning, the transgender woman sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks.
According to NBC News, Manning has been named to President Barack Obama's short list of inmates whose sentences he is considering commuting.
Over the course of his presidency, Obama has commuted 1,176 sentences, the majority of which involved nonviolent drug offenses. With just nine days left of his tenure, the clock is ticking for inmates who believe they have a chance at clemency.
Manning's legal team petitioned Obama in November, asking him to shorten a sentence her lawyer Vince Ward called the "most severe punishment received by any other whistleblower in American history."
In a letter accompanying the petition, Manning wrote, "The sole relief I am asking for is to be released from military prison after serving six years of confinement as a person who did not intend to harm the interests of the United States or harm any service members."
Manning's time in prison has been colored by her ongoing struggle to receive gender transition surgery as she serves time in a men's prison as a trans woman.
Manning attempted suicide in July, later going on a hunger strike to protest her prison conditions. The five-day strike ended when, in September, the United States Army officials reportedly told Manning's lawyers they would pay for her transition surgery. At the time, Manning would have been the first inmate to ever receive the surgery: On Saturday, a California inmate beat her to it.
Deborah Manning, Manning's aunt, told NBC News Obama's short list is her niece's best shot at clemency.
"I have more hope right now than I have the entire time since she was sentenced," she said. "I do think it's the last hope for a while."