Contributed from Victoria
Chelsea Manning, the longest-serving whistleblower in US history, is set to be released from prison this week. The news has been welcomed by many.
The transgender US Army private was sentence to 35 years behind bars in 2013, for her role in leaking more than 700,000 secret diplomatic and military documents and videos, to WikiLeaks. They included video footage of an Apache helicopter killing 12 civilians in Iraq’s capital, Baghdad in 2007.
Manning, born Bradley Manning, had her sentence commuted by Barack Obama in one of his last acts as president. The sentence is due to expire on 17 May, although a formal date of release has not come from the White House yet. But Manning confirmed the release on Twitter.
“Freedom was only a dream, and hard to imagine. Now it’s here! You kept me alive,” she Tweeted.
She added: “For the first time, I can see a future for myself as Chelsea. I can imagine surviving and living as the person who I am and can finally be in the outside world.”
Chelsea Manning had gained access to the files, while serving in Iraq. The whistleblower played a big part in exposing understated civilian death counts and abuses of prisoners at Guantanamo. As a result, Manning became an international celebrity, gaining widespread support around the world and in the United States, for having the courage to speak out against clear abuses of power.
The leaked documents helped to put Wikileaks and Julian Assange on the map.
Seeking to destroy the reputation of the whistleblower as a traitor and impose a long jail sentence, Washington hoped to put a stop to damaging leaks. It didn’t work and Bradley Manning refused to be silenced.
These were also the exposures that began the hunt for Wikileaks and the United States to grab its founder Julian Assange.
The release of Bradley Manning is the result of a major international campaign.