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14 Apr, 2014 17:14

Army rejects clemency for Chelsea Manning

Army rejects clemency for Chelsea Manning

WikiLeaks source Chelsea Manning will not receive clemency from the United States military, the US Army said on Monday afternoon.

A news release circulated by the US Army Military District of Washington early Monday confirmed that the Pentagon official who could have agreed to reduce or eliminate the sentence imposed last year on the former intelligence analyst declined to do so. The case will next automatically be sent to the Army Court of Criminals Appeals.

According to the press release, the convening authority, Maj. Gen. Jeffrey S. Buchanan, approved the findings and sentence adjudged at last summer’s court-martial, in turn rejecting requests for Manning to receive clemency.

As convening authority, Buchanan could have elected to disapprove of Army Col. Denise Lind’s decision last summer to sentence Manning to 35 years in prison after the analyst admitted to sharing a trove of classified military documents with the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks. Lind sentenced the solder to 35 years in prison and demoted her to private first class after finding the soldier guilty of multiple counts, including espionage, theft and computer fraud.

Hours earlier, a new lawyer for Manning told an audience in Washington, DC that she planned to adamantly pursue an appeal for her client and was willing to take the case to the United States Supreme Court.

“We will stay with this case until there are no more courts and nowhere else to go on behalf of Chelsea," attorney Nancy Hollander said Sunday evening during remarks at an event at Georgetown University Law Center in DC.

"No reasonable person would think that the sentence that was imposed was a reasonable one," Hollander said. "I think the military system needs to answer for itself...There are issues that are very apparent about whether the military system was just to Chelsea or not."

Manning’s trial attorney, David Coombs, said in a statement last month that he disagreed with Col. Lind’s ruling, handed down last August after a nearly three-month-long military trial that cumulated following more than three years of preparation.

“I have fought to ensure that she received a fair trial and a just result,” Coombs said in a two-and-a-half-page statement released by his law office late last month hours after the clemency request was officially submitted to Buchanan’s office. “Unfortunately, I do not believe that she received either.”

In that same dispatch, Coombs claimed to have filed more than 6,000 letters from supporters and an Amnesty International petition containing nearly 39,000 signatures with Buchanan.