Belfast Telegraph

Chelsea Manning's mother delighted her daughter will soon leave jail

Chelsea Manning's Welsh mother has spoken of her pride for the Wikileaks whistleblower before her release from prison.

The former intelligence analyst is due to leave a military jail on Wednesday, after serving seven years of a 35-year sentence for leaking hundreds of thousands of classified US Government documents.

Susan Manning said she is "delighted" her daughter, 29, will eventually be free to fulfil her aspirations, although she has concerns over how she will fare outside prison.

Barack Obama commuted the transgender soldier's sentence in his final days in the White House, outraging Republicans including Donald Trump, who described her as an "ungrateful traitor".

Preparing for her release, Manning's Welsh-Irish family said the sentence had been a "travesty of justice".

Mrs Manning, said: "I am so proud of Chelsea and delighted she will finally be free again.

"It is going to be very hard for her to re-adjust after so long inside the prison's four walls and I'm happy she will be staying in Maryland where she has family to look out for her.

"Chelsea is so intelligent and talented, I hope she now has the chance to go to college to complete her studies, and to do and be whatever she wants. My message to Chelsea? Two words: 'Go, girl!'"

In her first statement since receiving clemency, Manning said on Tuesday that she hopes to use the lessons she received in prison to help others.

She added: "I can imagine surviving and living as the person who I am and can finally be in the outside world.

"Freedom used to be something that I dreamed of but never allowed myself to fully imagine."

Manning was arrested in 2010 and convicted in 2013 of six violations of the US's espionage act for leaking 700,000 secret military and State Department document to WikiLeaks.

The trove, which included classified battlefield videos, was one of the biggest breaches of intelligence in US history.

She acknowledged leaking the files while working in Iraq, but protested that she had acted to raise awareness of the impact of US military action on innocent civilians.

Then known as Private Bradley Manning, she later underwent gender transition while in jail and in 2016 made two attempts to take her own life, citing ill-treatment behind bars.

She is currently being held at a correctional facility at Fort Leavenworth, a US Army disciplinary barracks in Kansas.

Manning, whose father is American, was born in Oklahoma in the US but moved to Haverfordwest in Pembrokeshire just before she turned 14 in 2001 following her parents' divorce.

She attended Tasker Milward comprehensive school and still has family and friends in the area.

In a statement her Welsh-Irish relatives said Manning had endured "seven years loss of liberty for her whistleblowing actions while those whose wrongdoing she exposed have gone unpunished".

"The shocking and abusive ill-treatment Chelsea was subjected to in Kuwait and [US Marine base] Quantico before the trial should never have happened and the 35-year sentence handed down by the military court was a travesty of justice.

"We are naturally very relieved that this ordeal will soon be over for Chelsea and that she will be able to take up her place in society again.

"Whatever she decides to do, we are sure she will make a significant and positive contribution."

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