Chelsea Manning's family welcome imminent release of whistleblower

Updated: 

The Welsh-Irish family of whistleblower Chelsea Manning have said they are "overjoyed" she will soon be free after her sentence was commuted by outgoing US President Barack Obama.

A statement released on behalf of her mother, Susan Manning, and other family members said they hoped the transgender former intelligence analyst, born Bradley Manning, would "now be able to get on with the rest of her life", adding there would "always be a welcome for her here in Wales".

The full statement said: "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."

Ms Manning was born in Oklahoma in the US but moved to Haverfordwest in Pembrokeshire, just before she turned 14 in 2001 following her parents' divorce.

She attended Tasker Milward comprehensive school and still has family and friends in the area.

As well as her mother, her aunts, Sharon Staples and Mary Murray, and uncle, Kevin Fox, are believed to still live in south-west Wales and have been campaigning for her release since she was jailed.

Ms Manning also has several supporters in Ireland. Her grandfather, Billy Fox, emigrated from Dublin to Wales in 1948.