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Obama's Decision on Manning's Sentence May Stop 'Vendetta Toward Whistleblowers'

Barack Obama has commuted the prison sentence of Chelsea Manning for leaking US classified documents to WikiLeaks in 2010. The 29 year old transgender US Army private was sentenced to 35 years in prison in 2013.

In one of his final decisions President Obama ordered to shorten Manning's sentence to seven years, meaning she will be freed on May 17 this year. Radio Sputnik discussed the issue with Birgitta Jonsdottir, MP in the Icelandic parliament for the Pirate Party and a Chairperson of the International Modern Media Institution.

"I am very happy that Chelsea has been released," the politician told Sputnik. "I think it is a very significant move when it comes to all these whistleblowers who are either in exile, or in prison. And I hope that this will indicate this vendetta towards whistleblowers, that era, is finished."

Manning had been sentenced to 35 years in military prison for exposing war crimes committed by US forces that were completely swept under the rug during US military operations in the Middle East.

Jonsdottir admitted that she was surprised, but very "thankful" for Obama's decision.

"I think maybe people should look at their presidents according to their last hundred days in office, because Obama has set a record now when it comes to release of prisoners," she said.

Chelsea Manning, the US soldier imprisoned for leaking the largest trove of classified documents in US history, has proposed, and drafted, a bill to strengthen protections for journalists reporting on government secrets. - Sputnik International
GOP's Reaction on Obama Commuting Manning's Sentence Hypocritical - White House
Manning's lawyer said Barack Obama's decision would be a great relief to his client, who twice attempted suicide and went on a hunger strike while serving her sentence at Fort Leavenworth.

However, members of the Republican Party criticized Obama's move calling it outrageous. Senator John McCain said it would set a dangerous precedent, encouraging further acts of espionage.

On Wednesday, Trump's spokesman Sean Spicer said that US President-elect Donald Trump is troubled by President Barack Obama's commutation of Manning's prison sentence.

"I think the President-elect is troubled by this action," Spicer stated. "It's disappointing and it sends a very troubling message when it comes to the handling of classified information and the consequences for those who leaked information that threatened the safety of our nation."

Information given by Manning to WikiLeaks became the biggest breach of classified data in the US history. Among the thousands of documents Manning gave to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was a 2007 video of a US Apache helicopter killing suspected insurgents, who turned out to be civilians and two Reuters journalists.

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