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Chelsea Manning is speaking out before her release from prison next week following her pardon from former President Barack Obama in January. Manning released a statement saying she was grateful for the commutation and is …
Manning released a statement saying she was grateful for the commutation and is happy she can now live her life in the open.
"For the first time, I can see a future for myself as Chelsea. I can imagine surviving and living as the person who I am and can finally be in the outside world. Freedom used to be something that I dreamed of but never allowed myself to fully imagine," Manning said.
The imprisoned Army intelligence officer, who is a transgender woman, was originally given a 35-year prison sentence for leaking classified documents.
"Now, freedom is something that I will again experience with friends and loved ones after nearly seven years of bars and cement, of periods of solitary confinement, and of my health care and autonomy restricted, including through routinely forced haircuts. I am forever grateful to the people who kept me alive, President Obama, my legal team and countless supporters," Manning said in a statement.
Manning was serving her sentence in an all-male prison. She said she was able to get through her time thanks to an outpouring of letters from all different kinds of people.
"My spirits were lifted in dark times, reading of their support, sharing in their triumphs, and helping them through challenges of their own. I hope to take the lessons that I have learned, the love that I have been given, and the hope that I have to work toward making life better for others," Manning said.
The former soldier will be released on May 17.