This (the freeing of Chelsea Manning) is happening in 5 months.
This (the freeing of Chelsea Manning) is happening in 5 months. Flickr.com/torbakhopper

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In one of his final acts as the current POTUS, President Obama has approved a total of 209 commutations and 64 pardons, which includes shortening the sentence for Chelsea Manning. The 29-year-old one-time army intelligence analyst was arrested in 2010 for releasing a boatload of secrets and sensitive military files to Wikileaks, held in solitary confinement at Virginia's Marine Corps Brig, Quantico for nine months before being being transferred to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and in August of 2013, was ultimately convicted and given a pretty substantial sentence—35 years.

She's made headlines for all manner of reasons since her conviction, most frequently for her moves towards gender transition despite being in prison (from getting approval to receive a prescribed regime of hormones while incarcerated, to her military doctor refusing Manning's request to change the gender on her military records to female), but also for her hunger strike and suicide attempts.

Whether you're among the folks who think she's a traitor, or firmly on her side and worried about the dire precedent her trial has set for future whistleblowers, three-and-a-half decades is a long-ass time to make someone rot away in prison, especially for a non-violent crime. After Obama's commutation, she'll see the light of day in five months, on May 17, 2017.

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