President Obama has nine days to order the release of imprisoned Chelsea Manning and possibly save her life, says Edward Snowden. Manning, who like Snowden leaked US state secrets and is six years into a 35-year-sentence, has pleaded with Obama to grant her clemency before he leaves office on 20th January — believing the incoming President, Donald Trump, will be less sympathetic.
Manning, who is awaiting gender realignment, has already attempted suicide twice in prison and has been on hunger strike. Snowden, who escaped justice by fleeing to Russia when he leaked secrets about how the NSA operated, tweeted: "Mr. President, if you grant only one act of clemency as you exit the White House, please: free Chelsea Manning. You alone can save her life."
Manning sent a petition to Obama in November 2016 and to date it has been signed by over 100,000 supporters. But with time running out before the President leaves office she is losing hope. Manning told The Guardian that Obama's clemency was "the last real chance to make my case to go home for a very long time."
Manning, 29, added: "I have spent almost all of my adult life either homeless, in the military or in prison. I haven't had the chance to live my life yet."
According to NBC, Manning is on a shortlist of possible recipients for clemency along with Snowden himself and former Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was held captive by the Taliban for five years before being released in 2014. Bergdahl is facing a court martial for desertion.
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London to avoid being tried in Sweden on sex charges, added his voice to calls for Manning's release. Assange offered to take Manning's place in the US justice system if Obama agreed to release Manning, currently being held at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.