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Chelsea Manning released from prison

Chicago and 14 other cities to host 'Welcome home, Chelsea Manning' events

Chelsea Manning, the transgender soldier convicted in 2013 of illegally disclosing classified government information, was released from military prison early Wednesday morning.

Manning - known then as Bradley Manning -- was convicted in 2013 of leaking secret military and State Department documents and battlefield video. Manning said she wanted to expose what she considered to be the U.S. military's disregard of the effects of war on civilians and that she released information that she didn't believe would harm the U.S. 

After the 2013 sentencing, the ex-intelligence agent changed her name to Chelsea Manning and became a transgender woman.

She served nearly seven years of her 35-year sentence at the military prison in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Manning attempted suicide twice last year — once in July, another in November — while imprisoned.

President Barack Obama commuted Manning's sentence in January, thereby giving her an early release date.

"For the first time, I can see a future for myself as Chelsea," Manning said in a statement released last week by her attorneys. "I can imagine surviving and living as the person who I am and can finally be in the outside world. Freedom used to be something that I dreamed of but never allowed myself to fully imagine."

Pfc. Manning, 29, will remain an active-duty soldier in the U.S. Army, but she won't be paid a salary and it's highly unlikely that she will be called to serve, according to NBC News

Manning was released at around 3 a.m. ET.

Chicago and 14 other cities to host 'Welcome home, Chelsea Manning' events

In Chicago,  the Gay Liberation Network (GLN) will host a house party to help raise funds to support Manning following her release Wednesday morning. 

"Chelsea Manning is the LGBTQ movement's greatest-ever anti-war activist and whistleblower about government crimes, and yet she was shunned by virtually every large LGBTQ non-profit," said Andy Thayer, GLN co-founder. 

According to GLN, the result is that Manning will be leaving prison with virtually no institutional support. 

The Chicago 'welcome home' house party will take place from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday, May 17 at the home of Thayer and his husband Aldo P. Hernandez, 4745 N. Beacon Street, Apt 3S. The suggested donation is $20-$50, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds.

Similar events in support of Manning will take place in Auckland, New Zealand; Beer Sheva, Israel (near where Palestinians prisoners are on hunger strike); Berkeley, California; Berlin, Germany; Boston, Massachusetts; Dublin, Ireland; London, UK; Manchester, UK; Mannheim, Germany; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Portland, Oregon; San Francisco, California; and Seattle, Washington.
 
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