From the announcement:
Thirty-five years. That is the length of prison time that Chelsea Manning was sentenced to back in 2013 for publically releasing classified information, in the hopes of starting a conversation regarding the true nature of asymmetric warfare, and the harm coming to both civilians and soldiers as a result of the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This was an argument she was never allowed to raise as a defense during her trial — only as a point of mitigation during her sentencing.
Chelsea Manning’s sentence is more than 17 times longer than any other sentence previously administered for providing information to the media. It seems clear that this sentence serves only one purpose: to make an example of a soldier who only intended to show the true costs of war.
From the letter to President Obama:
Under international human rights law, the “essential aim” of a penitentiary system should be the “reformation and social rehabilitation” of prisoners, rather than retribution. Excessive punishment may also constitute arbitrary deprivation of liberty in violation of the right to liberty, and may constitute cruel, inhuman, or degrading punishment, in violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention against Torture, which the United States has signed and ratified. Both U.S. and international human rights jurisprudence on sentencing emphasize the importance of a judicial determination based upon individualized consideration of the defendant.
For the reasons set forth above, Chelsea Manning should be shown clemency in recognition of her motives for acting as she did, the treatment she endured in her early pre-trial detention, and the due process shortcomings during her trial. Amnesty International respectfully requests that you commute her sentence to the time she has already served in prison.