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Obama commutes sentences of Chelsea Manning and former general
[WASHINGTON] President Barack Obama on Tuesday commuted the 35-year sentence of Chelsea Manning, the former Army intelligence analyst who was convicted of leaking classified material in 2013.
She will be released in May 2017, according to a statement from the White House.
The move was part of a final push of pardons and commutations in the closing days of the administration, and Mr Obama has now shortened the sentences of more federal inmates than any other president.
Manning was arrested in 2010 after leaking 700,000 military files and diplomatic cables to Wikileaks, and her sentence exceeded that received by other individuals recently convicted of releasing classified material. She has twice attempted to commit suicide while incarcerated, and went on a hunger strike in an effort to get the Army to allow her to undertake gender reassignment surgery.
Mr Obama also pardoned former Marine General James Cartwright, who was convicted of making false statements to federal investigators as they probed whether he leaked details of a cyberattack on Iran's nuclear program. He pleaded guilty in October, and prosecutors have requested a two-year prison sentence.
A commutation shortens a convict's sentence, but unlike a pardon, does not forgive the crime.
Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who leaked his cache of documents detailing US intelligence efforts around the same time as Manning's crime, advocated for her clemency.
"Mr President, if you grant only one act of clemency as you exit the White House, please: free Chelsea Manning," Mr Snowden tweeted. "You alone can save her life."
Mr Obama accelerated the use of his clemency power over his final years in office, focusing primarily on reversing decades of drug-war punishments.