U.S.

Chelsea Manning seeks pardon

Attorney files petition to release Manning, convicted and sentenced for leaking US secrets

Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Lawyers for Chelsea Manning filed a request for a pardon from President Barack Obama Tuesday, following the soldier's 35-year jail sentence for one of the biggest military intelligence leak in U.S. history.

"Private Manning's pardon request was filed today by our office," attorney David Coombs said on Twitter.

The lawyer indicated his intention to seek a pardon on Aug. 21, when a military judge sentenced Manning to 35 years behind bars for her massive disclosure of intelligence -- including some 700,000 classified diplomatic and military documents.

Manning, who was known as Pfc. Bradley Manning until Aug. 22 when she issued a press release announcing her gender preference, will receive a dishonorable discharge as part of the sentence.

A separate statement issued by Amnesty International Tuesday, urged Obama to take a sympathetic stance towards Manning and grant clemency, saying the soldier's sentence was a "blight on the U.S. human rights record."

"President Obama should grant Manning clemency for time served, protect whistleblowers, and provide accountability for crimes like those Manning exposed," Amnesty said.

The rights group said Manning's sentence "contrasts with the leniency given those responsible for torture and other types of grave human rights violations" revealed by the soldier's disclosures.

A petition on whitehouse.gov seeking Manning’s release has netted 22,333 signatures since it was posted Aug 20. The White House said it could not comment, in response to another petition calling for Manning’s release that was posted on the website in September 2011.

"The military justice system is charged with enforcing the Uniform Code of Military Justice," the White House said. "Accordingly, the White House declines to comment on the specific case raised in this petition."

Al Jazeera and AFP

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