Whistleblower and former computer analyst Edward Snowden has praised US President Barack Obama for commuting former soldier Chelsea Manning's jail sentence.

The US president on Tuesday (17 January) announced Manning would be released on 17 May, significantly slashing her sentence for leaking information.

She was handed the longest ever sentence for leaking information - 35 years - and would have stayed in prison until 2045. A petition for Manning's release with over 100,000 signatures was delivered to the White House in December.

Snowden took to social media to praise the decision, stating in a series of tweets: "In five more months, you will be free. Thank you for what you did for everyone, Chelsea. Stay strong a while longer!

"Let it be said here in earnest, with good heart: Thanks, Obama."

Snowden had issued a plea for Obama to commute Manning's sentence before he left office, ahead of Trump's inauguration on 20 January.

He wrote on Twitter on 11 January "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."

The 29-year-old transgender woman reportedly attempted suicide several times following her imprisonment and spent some time in solitary confinement, prompting her supporters to fear for her mental state.

The announcement of Manning's early release has prompted questions over whether Snowden is likely to receive a similar pardon.

Snowden, who leaked information from the National Security Agency in 2013, fled the US and is living in an unknown location in Russia.

However, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said it was unlikely Snowden would receive similar treatment.

"Chelsea Manning is somebody who went through the military criminal justice process, was exposed to due process, was found guilty, was sentenced for her crimes, and she acknowledged wrongdoing," Earnest is quoted as saying.

"Mr Snowden fled into the arms of an adversary, and has sought refuge in a country that most recently made a concerted effort to undermine confidence in our democracy."

Edward Snowden to be interviewed by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey
Edward Snowden praised President Obama for commuting Chelsea Manning's sentence Reuters