Shortly before leaving office, President Obama commuted Chelsea Manning’s 35-year sentence to time served. Manning is set to be released on Wednesday, but many have wondered how Manning will support herself after being freed. Though a GoFundMe was set up for Manning, the Army announced that Manning will remain on active duty, eligible for health care after leaving military prison at Fort Leavenworth.
Army spokesperson Dave Foster issued a statement about how Manning will remain an unpaid Army private while her court-martial conviction continues, which will allow benefits to continue. Per USA Today:
“Pvt. Manning is statutorily entitled to medical care while on excess leave in an active duty status, pending final appellate review,” Foster said.
The Army refused to disclose the other terms of Manning’s release, six years before her eligibility for parole, citing privacy concerns. She had been sentenced to 35 years for releasing hundreds of thousands of secret documents to WikiLeaks. Manning at court martial in the uniform of an enlisted man.
After Obama commuted Manning’s sentence, then-President-elect Trump criticized the decision calling Manning an “ungrateful traitor” in a tweet. Manning is currently appealing her court-martial conviction. If that appeal is denied, it would result in a dishonorable discharge which would cause Manning to lose her benefits.
In a statement to supporters made through the ACLU, Manning said: “For the first time, I can see a future for myself as Chelsea. I can imagine surviving and living as the person who I am and can finally be in the outside world.”
(via USA Today)