The U.S. Army said Sunday that Pvt. Chelsea Manning will remain on active duty after being released from a federal prison in Leavenworth, Kansas, on May 17 and will be eligible to receive benefits, including health care.
Army spokesman Dave Foster confirmed that Manning, a transgender soldier who was previously known as Bradley Manning, would stay in the Army while appealing the case that landed the soldier in prison and would be entitled to the wide range of benefits offered by the military branch and funded by taxpayers. Manning will not be paid a salary, however.
“Private Manning is statutorily entitled to medical care while on excess leave in an active duty status, pending final appellate review,” Foster said, according to USA Today.
The 29-year-old soldier, who was an intelligence analyst in Iraq, was convicted of violations of the Espionage Act in 2013 after disclosing hundreds of thousands of classified and sensitive government documents to the website WikiLeaks. Born a man, then-Bradley Manning made the decision to undergo hormone therapy and transition to a female shortly after being sentenced to 35 years in prison.
In the final days of his presidency, former President Barack Obama commuted Manning’s sentence, arguing that the sentence was disproportionate to the crime. He ordered the private to be released after serving just short of seven years of the 35-year sentence.
Manning released a final statement last week thanking Obama and the others who have supported her while she has been incarcerated.
“For the first time, I can see a future for myself as Chelsea,” Manning said in the statement released by the ACLU. “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.”