NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. soldier Chelsea Manning, who is serving 35 years in prison for passing classified files to WikiLeaks, has asked the Obama administration to commute her remaining sentence to the time she has already served, The New York Times reported on Sunday.
Manning made the request in a Nov. 10 petition to President Obama, a copy of which the Times obtained from Manning’s attorney. She attempted suicide on Oct. 4 at the start of her stay in solitary confinement, where she was sent for also attempting to take her own life in July.
In the statement, Manning assumed responsibility for her actions, saying they were wrong, but said her life was in turmoil at the time of the leaks. She was confronting gender dysphoria at the time while deployed to Iraq, the Times said.
Manning also wrote of her treatment in prison and her multiple suicide attempts, saying: “I am not asking for a pardon of my conviction.”
“The sole relief I am asking for is to be released from military prison after serving six years of confinement as a person who did not intend to harm the interests of the United States or harm any service members,” the statement said.
Manning’s petition was accompanied by letters of support from Daniel Ellsberg, best known for releasing the classified Vietnam War history known as the Pentagon Papers, Morris Davis, a former military commissions chief prosecutor, and Glenn Greenwald, a legal commentator and journalist who has been a prominent supporter, the Times said.
Manning, a transgender Army private who was born male and revealed after being convicted of espionage that she identifies as a woman, is being held at the Fort Leavenworth military prison in Kansas.
She has been a focus of a worldwide debate on government secrecy since she provided more than 700,000 documents, videos, diplomatic cables and battlefield accounts to the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks.
Reporting by Chris Michaud; Editing by Paul Tait