Belfast Telegraph

Manning's commuted sentence gets mixed reaction

By Becky Barnes

An anti-war activist who served time in a US prison says he is still outraged that Chelsea Manning was jailed - despite his relief that her sentence has been commuted.

Outgoing US President Barack Obama has allowed the former Army intelligence analyst who gave classified documents to WikiLeaks to go free nearly 30 years early.

Ciaron O'Reilly, an Australian who lives in Dublin, has campaigned alongside Ms Manning's family for six years since he heard the former intelligence analyst, then known as Bradley, had been arrested in Baghdad.

Mr O'Reilly (56), who was jailed for 13 months in 1991 after disarming a bomber plane headed for Iraq on the eve of the Gulf War, said: "I have been quite distressed about the suicide attempts.

"It is a relief to know an end is in sight while I maintain outrage for her ever being in jail."

But US Senator John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, called it a "grave mistake".

He said: "It is a sad, yet perhaps fitting commentary on President Obama's failed national security policies that he would commute the sentence of an individual that endangered the lives of American troops, diplomats, and intelligence sources by leaking hundreds of thousands of sensitive government documents to WikiLeaks, a virulently anti-American organisation that was a tool of Russia's recent interference in our elections.

"Her prison sentence may end in a few months' time, but her dishonour will last forever."

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