Private Chelsea Manning, the transgender woman and former Army intelligence analyst who has spent the last seven years in prison after leaking roughly 70,000 classified and unclassified documents to Wikileaks, will remain an unpaid active duty soldier who is eligible for health care and other benefits after her release from prison Tuesday, USA Today reported. Former President Barack Obama commuted Manning’s 35-year sentence just days before the end of his presidency.
USA Today spoke with Army Spokesman Dave Foster, who confirmed that Manning, who entered an all-male military prison as “Bradley,” would remain active duty following her release.
“Pvt. 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 report added that the Army did not specify what post she would be assigned to or who she would report to, adding that if her appeal of her court martial conviction is denied, there is a possibility she could be dishonorably discharged, which would mean she would lose the health benefits.
According to previous statements made by her lawyers, Manning has attempted to commit suicide twice while imprisoned.
As reported last week, Manning has been vocal about her excitement to leave the military prison in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. She had not mentioned plans to return to active duty.
In a statement published on her website, Luminairity, last Tuesday, Manning said she was looking forward to a future as Chelsea.
“For the first time, I can see a future for myself as Chelsea,” she said. “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. Now, freedom is something that I will again experience with friends and loved ones after nearly seven years of bars and cement, of periods of solitary confinement, and of my health care and autonomy restricted, including through routinely forced haircuts. I am forever grateful to the people who kept me alive, President Obama, my legal team and countless supporters.”
“I watched the world change from inside prison walls and through the letters that I have received from veterans, trans [transgender] young people, parents, politicians and artists,” she continued. “My spirits were lifted in dark times, reading of their support, sharing in their triumphs, and helping them through challenges of their own. I hope to take the lessons that I have learned, the love that I have been given, and the hope that I have to work toward making life better for others.”