10 Days Remaining

Thursday 18th
posted by James Tweedie in World

WIKILEAKS whistleblower Chelsea Manning and Puerto Rican independence leader Oscar Lopez were freed from US imprisonment yesterday.

Both political prisoners had their sentences commuted by outgoing president Barack Obama in his final weeks in office.

Ms Manning, formerly known as Bradley, was released quietly in the early morning from Fort Leavenworth military prison in Kansas.

The soldier had served seven years of a 35-year sentence for sending evidence of US war crimes to WikiLeaks while serving as an army intelligence analyst in Iraq.

Meanwhile Mr Lopez, who was moved to house arrest in the colony’s capital San Juan from prison in the United States in February finally enjoyed full liberty.

Escorted by the city’s mayor and other supporters, he went to a US government office to have his electronic tracking tag removed.

Mr Lopez was a leader of the Armed Forces of National Liberation (FALN) that carried out over 100 bombings, mostly without casualties, in demand of independence for the Spanish-speaking Caribbean island.

He was jailed for 55 years in 1981. His first words were: “I keep on struggling and working. My spirit and dignity are still intact. I feel enormously happy because I am in my homeland.”

But he stressed that there were still many political prisoners in the US, among them Black Panther Party members.

The New York Puerto Rican Day parade on June 11 will honour Mr Lopez. Goya Foods, which has sponsored the event since its inauguration in 1958, pulled out this week.