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Gillian Branstetter, Media Relations Manager
January 17, 2017

President Obama Commutes Chelsea Manning's Sentence, Saves Her Life

Today, the National Center for Transgender Equality thanked President Obama for showing mercy and granting clemency to Chelsea Manning, a transgender woman whose life was endangered by cruel and abusive conditions while serving the seventh year of a 35-year sentence in a men’s prison. She will now be released in May.

Ms. Manning has been incarcerated longer than any other American ever charged with leaking information to the media. She spent the first 11 months of her incarceration in solitary confinement, a horrific and unnecessary practice, which the Obama administration has worked to limit in civilian prisons. For years, the military also repeatedly sought to deny Manning appropriate medical care, making limited concessions only after legal battles. In September 2016, she was again placed in solitary confinement as punishment for attempting to take her own life.

NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling said, “Granting clemency in this compelling case exemplifies the values President Obama has demonstrated throughout his presidency. He has been a staunch advocate for the civil rights and human dignity of all people, including transgender people. He has stood up for the basic rights of individuals who are incarcerated, and his administration worked to reduce mass incarceration and eliminate inhumane conditions, including the extreme abuse too often faced by transgender prisoners. President Obama has been a strong advocate for second chances and has granted clemency to nearly 1,600 Americans. At a moment when civil rights are threatened, we are deeply grateful to this president for a decision that may very well have saved this woman’s life.”

NCTE joined a coalition of LGBT and other civil rights groups in calling for commuting Ms. Manning’s sentence to time served.

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