Chelsea Manning will be released in May after President Obama cut her sentence

WHISTLEBLOWER Chelsea Manning will be released in May after President Obama sensationally cut her sentence.

Former US army soldier Manning, formerly Bradley, had been jailed until 2025 for leaking classified material to controversial website Wikileaks.

The transgender prisoner, who attempted suicide twice last year, will be released from a male military prison in Kansas on May 17.

Her original 35 year sentence was the longest ever given for a leak conviction.

President Obama’s decision comes after the vulnerable trans prisoner’s demands for sexual reassignment surgery.

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After she went on hunger strike last year, the Department of Defence agreed to provide her with treatment for gender dysphoria.

Further controversy surrounded her incarceration inside a male prison.

Manning was arrested in 2010 for leaking of classified government and military documents to the Julian Assange-run whistleblowing website.

WikiLeaks has indicated Assange is ready to face extradition following Obama's decision to free the former US intelligence analyst.

Assange, who has been living at the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012 for fear of being extradited to the US, praised campaigners for their role in the decision.

He said: "Thank you to everyone who campaigned for Chelsea Manning's clemency.

“Your courage & determination made the impossible possible."

Following the decision, Wikileaks tweeted: "Assange is confident of winning any fair trial in the US. Obama's DoJ prevented public interest defense & fair jury."

The organisation last week tweeted: "If Obama grants Manning clemency Assange will agree to US extradition despite clear unconstitutionality of DoJ (Department of Justice) case."

Assange was interviewed in the embassy in November in the presence of prosecutors from Sweden, where he faces a sex allegation.

He denies the claims, but believes he faces extradition to the United States for questioning over the activities of WikiLeaks if he leaves the embassy.

Melinda Taylor, a member of Assange's legal team, insisted previous comments made about the implications of the Manning case still stand.

She said: "Everything that he has said he's standing by."

The White House says Manning is one of 209 inmates whose sentences Obama is shortening.

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

Most of the other people receiving commutations were serving sentences for nonviolent drug offences.

Chelsea Manning was born Bradley in Oklahoma City in 1987, to a Welsh mother and American father.

Standing at just 5″2, the court during Manning’s trial heard that she was only fed milk and baby food until the age of two, and that she showed signs of foetal alcohol syndrome.

Her parents divorced during her teens, and she moved to Wales with her mother – where she was reportedly relentlessly bullied for her foreign accent and feminine personality.

She then returned to the US in 2005, aged 17, and began living as an openly gay man.

She lived with her father and stepmother, before moving in with a friend and finally with her aunt in Maryland.

She spent one semester at university and worked numerous low-paid jobs before enlisting in the US Army in 2007.

In 2009, Manning was deployed to a base near Baghdad, where she worked as an intelligence analyst.

Just one month after arriving in Iraq in October, Manning made contact with a gender counsellor, who later told New York magazine: “Bradley felt he was female. He was very solid on that.”

It has also been revealed Manning found herself in crisis over her gender identity, and the fact she was opposed to the war she was fighting in.

Manning first made contact with WikiLeaks in January 2010 – around the same time she posted on Facebook that she felt “so alone”.

The whistleblower leaked over 700,000 classified documents related to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – eventually confiding in Adrian Lamo, an online acquaintance.

Lamo informed United States Army Counterintelligence, leading to Manning being charged with 22 offences.

She pleaded guilty to 10 charges, and convicted of 21. She was acquitted of aiding the enemy – a charge which can result in the death penalty.

The day after sentencing, Manning said in a statement she wanted to be known as Chelsea, and wanted to begin transitioning into a woman.

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