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WikiLeaks case analyst Chelsea Manning has prison sentence commuted

President Barack Obama has commuted the prison sentence of Chelsea Manning, allowing the former Army intelligence analyst who gave classified documents to WikiLeaks to go free nearly 30 years early.

Manning, who will leave prison in May, was one of 209 inmates whose sentences Mr Obama shortened.

The outgoing president also pardoned 64 people, including retired General James Cartwright, who was charged with making false statements during a probe into disclosure of classified information.

White House counsel Neil Eggleston said: "These 273 individuals learned that our nation is a forgiving nation where hard work and a commitment to rehabilitation can lead to a second chance."

Manning has been serving a 35-year sentence for leaking classified government and military documents to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks.

She asked Mr Obama last November to commute her sentence to time served.

Manning was convicted in a military court in 2013 of six violations of the Espionage Act and 14 other offences for leaking more than 700,000 documents and some battlefield video to WikiLeaks.

She was known as Bradley Manning at the time of her 2010 arrest and is being held at the military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

Manning was an intelligence analyst in Iraq and has acknowledged leaking the documents, but has said it was done to raise public awareness about the effects of war on civilians.

She attempted suicide twice last year, according to her lawyers, citing her treatment at Leavenworth.

Chase Strangio, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer representing Manning, said the president's action "quite literally save Chelsea's life.".

"We are all better off knowing that Chelsea Manning will walk out of prison a free woman, dedicated to making the world a better place and fighting for justice for so many," Mr Strangio said in a statement.

The US Army declined to comment.

Cartwright, the former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, received a pardon, the White House said.

He pleaded guilty in October to making false statements during an investigation into a leak of classified information about a covert cyberattack on Iran's nuclear facilities.

Prosecutors said Cartwright falsely told investigators he did not provide information contained in a news article and in a book by New York Times journalist David Sanger, and said he also misled prosecutors about classified information shared with another journalist, Daniel Klaidman.

The Justice Department sought a sentence of two years, saying employees of the US government are entrusted each day with sensitive classified information.

Commutations reduce sentences being served but do not erase convictions. Pardons generally restore civil rights, such as voting, often after a sentence has been served.

Most of the other people receiving commutations were serving sentences for non-violent drug offences.

AP

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