Agence France-Presse

Manning wants Obama's pardon for leak done 'out of a love for my country'

US Army Pvt. Bradley Manning, who wants to be recognized as a woman and now goes by Chelsea, is escorted by military police as she arrives for her sentencing at a military court facility on Aug. 21, 2013.
Credit: Mark Wilson

Chelsea Manning — the Army private sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking classified documents to anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks — is now seeking a presidential pardon.

Manning asked President Obama to release her from prison because, as she wrote in her application, "The decisions that I made in 2010 were made out of a concern for my country and the world we live in."

Manning, formerly known as Bradley Manning, was found guilty of leaking more than 700,000 documents including battlefield reports, diplomatic cables and video of a US helicopter attack that killed civilians.

She was sentenced to 35 years in prison, but will be eligible for parole in eight years. The 25-year-old is now an inmate at the central military prison at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas.

Manning announced her desire to live as a woman and be referred to as "Chelsea" shortly after her conviction.

In her application filed Tuesday, Manning said she leaked the documents to show that the US government "consciously elected to devalue human life both in Iraq and Afghanistan," reported The Associated Press.

"When we engaged those that we perceived were the enemy, we sometimes killed innocent civilians. Whenever we killed innocent civilians, instead of accepting responsibility for our conduct, we elected to hide behind the veil of national security and classified information in order to avoid any public accountability," she added.

It's unlikely that President Obama will approve the pardon request. The leak — the biggest in US history — was an embarrassment to the White House.

Human rights group Amnesty International filed a letter in support of Manning's pardon request.

"While the U.S. government has the inherent right to maintain the security of classified information, national security cannot be a blanket justification to withhold information about serious human rights violation," wrote Anne FitzGerald, Amnesty's director of research and crisis response.

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