Chelsea Manning was released from US Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, a military prison, on Wednesday. In 2013 Manning was convicted of stealing 700,000 documents and releasing them to WikiLeaks [advocacy website] while she was an intelligence analyst in Iraq. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange [BBC profile], who is under criminal investigation in the US and Sweden, has agreed to accept extradition if Manning was freed. Manning, who was once known as Private First Class Bradley Manning, was the first service member [CNN report] to undergo gender reassignment surgery while detained in military prison. Amnesty International [official website], who campaigned for Manning’s release, issued a statement [press release] saying, “While we celebrate her freedom, we will continue to call for an independent investigation into the potential human rights violations she exposed, and for protections to be put in place to ensure whistleblowers like Chelsea are never again subjected to such appalling treatment.”
Manning served 7 of her 35 year sentenced term, an unprecedented sentence [NYT report] for disclosing secret files. In one of his last acts in office, President Obama commuted [JURIST report] the remainder of her sentence. In September Manning was sentenced [JURIST report] to two weeks of solitary confinement over a suicide attempt she made while transitioning and the possession of a banned book. Earlier in September, Manning ended a five-day hunger strike after the Army agreed to allow her to undergo gender reassignment surgery [JURIST reports]. In May Manning appealed [JURIST report] her 35-year prison sentence. In 2013 Manning filed for a presidential pardon of the 35-year sentence. In February 2013 Manning pleaded guilty [JURIST report] to 10 of the 22 charges against her for providing classified materials to WikiLeaks.