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President Obama commutes sentence of Chelsea Manning

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WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama on Tuesday commuted the sentence of Chelsea Manning.

Manning was convicted of stealing and disseminating 750,000 pages of documents and videos to WikiLeaks.

The conviction remains, but the sentence has been reduced. Manning is expected to be freed on May 17.

Manning, a transgender woman and former U.S. Army soldier, was serving a 35-year sentence at Fort Leavenworth, an all-male Army prison in eastern Kansas, despite her request to transfer to a civilian prison.

The material, which WikiLeaks published in 2010, included a classified video of a U.S. helicopter attacking civilians and journalists in Iraq in 2007.

Labeled “Collateral Murder,” the film drew criticism from human rights activists for the deaths of innocent people.

When asked about WikiLeaks in the wake of the releases, President-elect Donald Trump told Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade in 2010: “I think it’s disgraceful. I think there should be like death penalty or something.”

Though found guilty on 20 out of 22 possible charges, including violating the U.S. Espionage Act, Manning was not convicted of the most serious one, aiding the enemy, which could have earned the private a life sentence.

Instead, the former intelligence analyst was sentenced to 35 years in prison, as well as demoted from private first class to private and dishonorably discharged.

Earlier this month, WikiLeaks said it would agree to a U.S. extradition request for the site’s founder, Julian Assange, if Obama granted clemency to Manning. It was not immediately clear if WikiLeaks would make good on its promise.

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