WASHINGTON (AFP) – Lawyers for Chelsea Manning filed a request for a pardon from President Barack Obama on Tuesday following the soldier’s 35-year jail sentence for the biggest intelligence leak in U.S. history.
“Private Manning’s pardon request was filed today by our office,” attorney David Coombs said on Twitter.
The lawyer had indicated his intention to seek a pardon on August 21, when a military judge sentenced Manning to 35 years behind bars for her massive disclosure of intelligence including some 700,000 classified diplomatic and military documents.
Manning, formerly a U.S. Army intelligence analyst, was prosecuted as a man, Bradley Manning, but the day after being sentenced asked to be recognized as a woman.
A separate statement released by Amnesty International on Tuesday urged Obama to take a sympathetic stance towards Manning and grant clemency, saying the soldier’s sentence was a “blight on the U.S. human rights record.”
“President Obama should grant Manning clemency for time served, protect whistleblowers, and provide accountability for crimes like those Manning exposed,” Amnesty said.
The rights group noted that Manning’s sentence “contrasts with the leniency given those responsible for torture and other types of grave human rights violations” revealed by the soldier’s disclosures.