Chelsea Manning to be released from prison next week

Former Army Pfc. Bradley Manning whose name was changed to Chelsea Manning is seen in uniform and dressed as a female. U.S. ARMY

Expressing relief about the impending release on Twitter Tuesday, Manning said: "Freedom was only a dream, and hard to imagine".

Manning said she would be "forever grateful" to all those who had supported her and President Obama, and now hoped to make "life better for others".

Obama granted Manning clemency in January, saying she had taken responsibility for her crime and her sentence was disproportionate to those received by other leakers.

Manning had served seven years of a 35-year stretch when outgoing president Barack Obama commuted her sentence earlier this year.

Chelsea Manning, the Army intelligence analyst convicted of leaking classified information to anti-secrecy website Wikileaks, will be released from prison this week. She will be released from Fort Leavenworth in Kansas on May 17.

"For the first time, I can see a future for myself as Chelsea".

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Manning's release would close out a almost decade-long saga surrounding her decision to record State Department communiques and battlefield "significant acts" reports from her classified SIPRNET computer terminal in Iraq and send them to Wikileaks, a then-little-known hacktivist site that published the leaks in 2010, to much media fanfare, as the "Iraq War Logs" and "Afghan War Diary".

Praised as a fearless whistleblower by supporters and derided as a traitor by critics, Manning - born as Bradley Manning in 1987 - came in for scrutiny not only for her treatment of classified material, but also her life choices. "I can imagine surviving and living as the person who I am and can finally be in the outside world", Manning wrote. After being punished with solitary confinement for the first suicide attempt, Manning tried to commit suicide again in October.

Manning, who has been called an "ungrateful traitor" by President Donald Trump, said the support she received through letters kept her going.

Her attorneys said Manning was subjected to violence in prison and argued the military mistreated her by requiring her to serve her sentence in an all-male prison, restricting her physical and mental health care, and not allowing her to wear a feminine-style haircut.

Manning was convicted in 2013 and sentenced to 35 years behind bars - the longest ever imposed for a leak conviction. It has been far too long, too severe, too draconian.

An ACLU spokesperson told NBC News that a lawsuit against the DoD over gender transition-related medical care is now "on hold" and will likely be dropped after her release.

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