Gay Republicans slam Obama for freeing Chelsea Manning
Republican gay group the Log Cabin Republicans has hit out at President Obama for using one of his final acts of office to free transgender Wikieaks source Chelsea Manning.
It was announced yesterday that the outgoing President had communed the sentence of Pvt Chelsea Manning, who had been imprisoned in Fort Leavenworth military prison after leaking details of classified government documents concerning alleged war crimes and rights abuses via WikiLeaks.
Manning, who announced her transition to female in 2013, has been denied the right to transition behind bars, leading her to make several suicide attempts.
Campaigners have also attacked her “unjust” 35-year prison sentence on the basis that her actions helped make public a large number of serious issues related to military practise.
The President commuted her sentence from 35 years to seven, meaning Manning will now be released on May 17 instead of in 2045.
While the news was largely welcomed by LGBT campaigners who had battled to ensure Manning was allowed to transition, the Log Cabin Republicans attacked the decision in a statement.
They insisted: “Log Cabin Republicans has always condemned Manning’s actions, and consistently stood against efforts by the left to elevate Manning as a paragon of the LGBT community.”
Log Cabin Republicans President Gregory T. Angelo said: “Chelsea Manning is no hero, and the commutation of her sentence is appalling.
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“Manning was not imprisoned for being transgender — in fact, the government agreed to accommodate and facilitate her transition during her well-deserved sentence; she was imprisoned for traitorous clandestine activity that put military lives at risk. Her actions — and President Obama’s clemency — are nothing to celebrate.”
Meanwhile the Human Rights Campaign welcomed the news.
David Stacy, Government Affairs Director of the Human Rights Campaign, said: “President Obama has a strong record regarding the humane treatment of prisoners and a long commitment to LGBTQ equality
“The decision to commute Pvt. Chelsea Manning’s remaining sentence – after she served nearly 7 years for her crimes – reflects that record. We hope Pvt. Manning soon can access the care and treatment that she, and every transgender person, deserves.”
The group added: “As Pvt. Manning serves the remainder of her sentence, she deserves the same thing that any incarcerated person does – appropriate and competent medical care and protection from discrimination and violence.
“The care she receives should be something that she and her doctors – including professionals who understand transgender care – agree is best for her.
“There is a clear legal consensus that it is the government’s responsibility to provide medically necessary care for transgender people and the military has an obligation to follow those guidelines.”
The commutation cannot be revered by President-elect Trump.