Chelsea Manning Leaves Prison a Free Woman

Chelsea Manning, the transgendered former US Army intelligence analyst who was in prison for leaking state secrets, has walked free from the military detention facility at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.—28 years early.

Manning’s support network has raised about $138,000 in crowdsourced donations to help her transition to the outside. She said her plans include moving to Maryland, and growing out her hair, which was kept shorn in prison.

“After another anxious four months of waiting, the day has finally arrived,” she said in a statement reported by CNN. “I am looking forward to so much! Whatever is ahead of me is far more important than the past. I’m figuring things out right now—which is exciting, awkward, fun and all new for me.”

American Civil Liberties Union lawyer Chase Strangio, who represented Manning, added: “She has experienced trauma over the past seven years of her confinement and the trauma from those experiences won’t just evaporate the day she walks out of prison. It’s going be a process for her to heal and begin to live her free life with more autonomy over her gender and her decisions and vision for the future.”

President Obama in January commuted her unprecedented 35-year sentence, right on the eve of the inauguration of the controversial Donald Trump. Obama overrode his secretary of defense in doing so.

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