Chelsea Manning Released From Prison - Freedom Celebrated With Events Around the World
The BBC reports:
U.S soldier Chelsea Manning has been released from prison after serving seven years for leaking hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables and military files to Wikileaks. A U.S Army spokesperson confirmed to the BBC that she had left Fort Leavenworth military prison in Kansas.
Most of what remained of her 35-year sentence was commuted by then-U.S President Barack Obama in January. Her lawyer earlier said she was excited but likely to be “anxious”. “She’s ready to finally be able to live as the woman that she is,” Nancy Hollander told the BBC. The 29-year-old soldier was born Bradley Manning.
Manning will remain on active but unpaid duty while her appeal is heard. She will continue to receive military health benefits in the meantime.
The release of Chelsea Manning from prison is being marked today with gatherings in at least nine countries.
Manning’s release is being marked with a ‘Toast to Freedom’ at Verona Bar & Café in Newton, New Zealand.
In Israel, Yonatan Shapira is dedicating a concert in Be’er Sheva to Manning.
There are other events planned in the Boston, Portland, Chicago, Dublin (Ireland), Reykjavik (Iceland) and Manchester (U.K).
In Berlin, a street artist has posted an image (Photo) of Chelsea at the famous Checkpoint Charlie at the old east/west Berlin border. Instagrammer Stephen Lowman told the media he spotted the poster on his way to work this morning.
The poster features an old image of Manning before she publicly revealed herself as transgender. Manning uses a similarly old, pre-transition image on her Twitter account.
There will be a screening later today of the film 6 Years to Free Chelsea at the Prisoners of Dissent event in the city.
In London, there will be a vigil outside St Martin’s-In-The-Fields church near Trafalgar Square at 5.30pm.
In San Francisco, a rally will be held at Harvey Milk Plaza between 6-7pm.
Many of the events have been coordinated and supported by the campaign groups Queer Strike and Pay Day Men’s Network – including the event in London this evening.
A spokesperson for Queer Strike told the media in a statement, ‘We are delighted that today on International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, Chelsea Manning is finally free after seven long years of torture and abuse in prison for exposing U.S government and other countries’ war crimes and corruption.
‘Whistleblowers defend us and we have a responsibility to defend them.
‘We are looking forward to being on the steps of St Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square today … Our sisters and brothers in QS and Payday in the U.S are taking action in San Francisco and Philadelphia.’
As well as physical events, others are celebrating the release of Chelsea Manning on social media:
- Amnesty staff celebrating Chelsea Manning's release. Congratulations Chelsea!
- Queer Appalachia @QueerAppalachia
#welcomehome #chelseamanning #thankyouforyourservice#thetruthwillsetyoufree #queerappalachia #queersouth #electricdirt
- Chelsea Manning is finally getting her freedom after 7 years in jail. #freeatlast #chelseamanning #freedomofspeech #humanrights