Chelsea Manning on President Obama’s “Short List” for Commutation, Deserves to Be Free Yesterday
There was a new development in the effort to pardon Chelsea Manning today as NBC News reported that that Manning is on President Obama’s “short list” of people for whom he’s considering commuting prison sentences.
Chase Strangio, Manning’s ACLU attorney, responded in a statement sent to FreeChelsea.com, writing:
The Obama administration has done many commendable things to protect the rights of LGBTQ people, but in the case of Chelsea Manning they have systematically mistreated her and denied her access to medically recommended gender-related health care. Chelsea won’t survive another 5 years in prison, much less another 30. President Obama has 9 days to do the right thing and commute her sentence. The world is watching, and we hope that he stands on the side of justice, and that his legacy will be one of standing up for trans people’s rights, not having extinguished one of our community’s brightest lights.
Strangio is exactly right in that the federal government’s treatment of Manning has been nothing short of dehumanizing and outright dangerous. Previously, Manning has served two stints in solitary confinement after attempting to commit suicide while imprisoned. These attempts come as a result of the prison’s continued mishandling of her care as a trans inmate, which includes enforcing male grooming standards on her and otherwise denying her proper care.
Manning’s prolonged mistreatment certainly stands as evidence of hypocrisy within the Army and the Department of Justice’s supposed new initiatives to be more inclusive to transgender Americans. As well, the effort to commute Manning’s sentence has only ramped up since the 2016 election, as it’s expected that rights for transgender Americans will take a strong about-face—as promised by Vice President-elect Mike Pence.
In so many ways, this may very well be the last chance to see Chelsea Manning walk free, away from an unprecedented sentence that was, indeed, inhumane and cruel.
The time for Obama to actually do the right thing here and free Manning from further suffering under a staunchly anti-LGBTQIA administration has come. She deserves better than that, President Obama—it really is up to you to save Chelsea Manning.
(via Jezebel, image via torbakhopper/Flickr)
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