The Welsh-Irish family of Chelsea Manning have issued a statement welcoming the commutation of her sentence. Manning, whose grandfather was from Dublin, spent time as a teenager living near them in Haverfordwest in Pembrokeshire, Wales.
"We are all overjoyed that Chelsea will soon be free.
“Chelsea exposed wrongdoing and was punished for being a whistleblower. We regret that it has taken so long for President Obama to commute the sentence and are outraged that Chelsea has been forced to endure such abusive treatment in prison. We agree with the UN Special Rapporteur Juan Mendez that some of this abuse amounted to torture.
“We sincerely hope that Chelsea will now be able to get on with the rest of her life and that she finds happiness and fulfilment in whatever she chooses to do. There will always be a welcome for her here in Wales.
“We will not be giving any interviews to the media and ask to be left in peace and for our privacy to be respected."
The news that President Obama had reduced Manning’s sentence from 35 years to 7 years was also hailed by Irish supporters of the controversial leaker.
Ruairí McKiernan who helped organize a vigil for Manning on her birthday each year since her incarceration was delighted with her upcoming release.
"This is incredible news and long overdue. I have met Chelsea's mother and relatives and they are good people. What Chelsea did was expose war crimes and injustices and she should never have been imprisoned for that. Whistle blowers like her courageously risk their own freedom for the better of us all and we owe them a huge debt.
“Chelsea is a beacon for truth and justice at a time when we need people who are prepared to stand up for what is right. She should be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. With the likes of Trump coming to power we need more Chelsea Manning's in the world."
Manning who was originally due to be released in 2045 at the latest will now be freed in May this year, having served a total of seven years behind bars for the leaking of classified US military and diplomatic documents to WikiLeaks, resulting in her conviction under the Espionage Act. Originally known as Bradley Manning she came out as a transgender woman after her conviction and asked that she henceforth be known as Chelsea.