Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich sent a letter this week to President Barack Obama requesting that Obama “grant the application for clemency submitted by Chelsea Manning and commute her sentence to time served.” The result of Obama taking this action would be the whistleblower’s prompt release from prison.
Noting that Manning “has already spent more time in prison than anyone previously convicted for providing information to the media,” the two former US House Members who have both run for president in their respective parties’ primaries, declare their belief that Manning “received a sentence that was excessively punitive and intended to send a chilling message to future potential whistleblowers acting in the public interest.”
In 2013, Manning, who had been an intelligence analyst in the United States Army, was convicted in a military court and sentenced to 35 years in prison. The case against Manning centered on Manning providing government information to WikiLeaks. Paul and Kucinich note in their letter that among the information provided to WikiLeaks was “previously unseen footage of journalists and other civilians being killed by U.S. helicopter attacks in a video known as ‘Collateral Murder.’”
Paul and Kucinich also contend in their letter that Manning suffered in 11 months of pre-trial detention that violated Manning’s “right to be protected from punishment without trial” and was “cruel and unusual punishment as enshrined in the 5th and 8th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.” The former House members detail that this detention included being “confined within a segregation cage for two months in Iraq” and being detained for nine months at the Quantico military brig during which time Manning was “confined for 23 hours a day to a small cell with no personal possessions, and was reportedly shackled at the wrists and legs during visits.”
Read Paul and Kucinich’s letter to President Obama here.
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Reprinted with permission from the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.