Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Chelsea Manning a Free Woman

In July 2010, Manning - then a male soldier known as Bradley - was arrested over the release of a huge collection of more than 700,000 classified military and diplomatic documents via WikiLeaks, one of the largest leaks of classified information in USA history.

XY Chelsea, directed by Tim Travers Hawkins, acquired the exclusive rights to Manning's story, with filmmakers on site at Kansas' Leavenworth Prison Wednesday as Manning was released after serving seven years of a 35-year sentence, the most ever levied on a whistleblower.

Manning has becoming a hugely divisive personality in the USA, after she was arrested and jailed in 2010.

TRT World's Nafisa Latic reports.

Manning said in 2014 that she chose to disclose the classified information to expose truths about the civil war "out of a love for my country".

Manning opened up about her prison release in a statement last week. She attempted to take her life twice and after a hunger strike in 2016, she received permission for a sex change operation. Her transition from a man to a woman soldier kept her in the news and she was granted clemency by Barack Obama as he left office.

Manning claimed she had to endure cruel circumstances while incarcerated, which led to her trying to commit suicide twice a year ago. After his conviction, Bradley stated he would continue his life as Chelsea E. Manning.

The Army said Manning will remain on active duty without pay, but will receive health care and other benefits.

Manning was convicted in 2013 of leaking secret military and US Department of State documents and battlefield video. She was acquitted of the most serious charge of aiding the enemy.

Manning acknowledged leaking the materials, saying she wanted to expose what she considered to be the United States military's disregard of the effects of war on civilians.

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