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Soldier in sentence appeal to Obama.

A TRANSGENDER soldier who is more than six years into a 35-year sentence for leaking classified US government and military documents to the WikiLeaks website is asking President Barack Obama to commute her sentence to time served.

In a commutation application released by her attorneys, Chelsea Manning said there was no historical precedent for such an extreme sentence for the leak of secret documents.

Ms Manning, who attended Tasker Milward school in Pembrokeshire for four years, was arrested in 2010 and convicted in 2013 in military court of six Espionage Act violations and 14 other offences for leaking more than 700,000 secret military and State Department documents, plus some battlefield video to WikiLeaks. At that point she was known as Bradley Manning.

She is in custody at the military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

Ms Manning, who was an intelligence analyst in Iraq, acknowledged leaking the documents but said it was intended to raise public awareness about the impact of war on innocent civilians.

She later filed a transgender prisoner rights lawsuit and has tried to commit suicide several times.

"I am living through a cycle of anxiety, anger, hopelessness, loss and depression," she wrote in her application, dated November 8. American Civil Liberties Union attorney Chase Strangio said his hope is that Mr Obama commutes the sentence.

"She has lived under incredibly harsh conditions the last six years and spent more time in prison than anyone in US history for giving information to the public," Mr Strangio said.


Chelsea Manning poses for a photo wearing a wig and lipstick

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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Nov 16, 2016
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