Chelsea Manning appeals 35-year prison sentence

"My fight is far from over. I am only just getting started," Manning said on Friday.

Justin Carissimo
New York
Saturday 21 May 2016 18:13
Protesters call for Chelsea Manning's release
Protesters call for Chelsea Manning's release

Chelsea Manning, the former US Army private imprisoned for leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks, has filed an appeal for her 35-year prison sentence three years after her conviction.

Manning, 28, was convicted on six counts of espionage in 2013 for leaking roughly 700,000 documents to the whistleblowing site WikiLeaks. The files included reports on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that the government intended on keeping secret, revealing a higher death count than what was publicy reported, as well as torture and other abuses by coalition forces.

This week her attorneys requested that the US Army Court of Criminal Appeals reduce her sentence to 10 years.

“Manning disclosed the materials because under the circumstances she thought it was the right thing to do,” the appeal reads. “She believed the public had a right to know about the toll of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the loss of life, and the extent to which the government sought to hide embarrassing information of its wrongdoing.”

Manning is currently serving her sentence at a military detention center in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. On Friday, she detailed her legal team’s strategy on Medium. “I have asked the judges to dismiss all charges or give me a shorter sentence,” she writes. “All in all, rather than this being the end, this is only beginning.”

Manning’s lead attorney Nancy Hollander argued that American's need whistleblowers to hold the government accountable for its actions.

“A war against whistleblowers is being waged in this country and this case represents how this country treats anyone who reveals even a single page of classified information,” Hollander said in a statement. “We need brave individuals to hold the government accountable for its actions at home and abroad and we call upon this court to overturn the dangerous precedent of Chelsea Manning’s excessive sentencing.”

Amnesty International, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Open Society Justice Initiative have all filed amicus briefs on Manning’s behalf. The ACLU has argued that charging Manning under the Espionage Act is “unconstitutionally vague” because it prevents the court from evaluating the public interest of the information she disclosed.

The OSJI brief outlines 30 countries that recommend lesser charges to similar crimes. It also quotes Secretary of State John Kerry, then chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, responding to the information leaked by Manning.

“However illegally these documents came to light, they raise serious questions about the reality of America’s policy toward Pakistan and Afghanistan,” Kerry said in a statement back in 2010. “Those policies are at a critical stage and these documents may very well underscore the stakes and make the calibrations needed to get the policy right more urgent.”

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in