Fort Leavenworth, KS, United States (4E) – Chelsea Manning, formerly Bradley Manning, the U.S. Army private convicted and sentenced to 35 years for passing classified government files to WikiLeaks, has requested President Barack Obama to pardon her.
Manning’s lawyer, David Coombs, filed the request on Tuesday and he informed the filing via microblogging site Twitter. The 25-year-old Manning, who is serving time at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, also requested pardon or a reduced sentence from the secretary of the army, John McHugh.
The Guardian quoted Manning as saying in the pardon request: “I will serve my time knowing that sometimes you have to pay a heavy price to live in a free society. I will gladly pay that price if it means we could have a country that is truly conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all women and men are created equal.”
Manning said her decision to leak hundreds of thousands of classified diplomatic and military documents to the anti-secrecy site was made out of concern for the U.S. and the world, was never intended to hurt anyone, and was intended to help people.
Coombs placed a cover letter in Manning’s request saying that his client is a military whistleblower, who disclosed documents that were vital for a healthy public debate about the U.S. conduct in Iraq and Afghanistan, detention policies at Guantánamo, and diplomatic activities around the world.
Coombs also said in the cover letter that Manning’s sentence was disproportionate to both the offense and the offender, will deter future whistleblowers and damage the public’s perception of military justice.
If the request for pardon is denied, Manning can seek parole after 10 years in prison.