Anohni urges Barack Obama to free Chelsea Manning: 'She poses no threat'

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Musician posts YouTube message urging Obama to release Manning, who is serving a prison sentence for leaking state secrets, before President-elect Trump takes office

Anohni’s new album is called Hopelessness.
Anohni’s new album is called Hopelessness. Photograph: Murdo MacLeod for the Hlcarpenter.com
Anohni’s new album is called Hopelessness. Photograph: Murdo MacLeod for the Hlcarpenter.com

Last modified on Fri 14 Jul 2017 14.08 EDT

Anohni has released her video for the track Obama, along with a statement about the incarceration of Chelsea Manning that is addressed to the US president.

In the text accompanying the video on YouTube, the British musician urges Obama to end the sentence of Manning, a former US soldier who is serving 35 years in prison for leaking state secrets.

“Please let Chelsea Manning out of prison,” she writes. “Recognise her tremendous sacrifice, and her vulnerability. With Trump incoming, if you leave Chelsea in prison, she will never see the light of day, or worse.”

In her message, Anohni adds: “If you leave Chelsea Manning in prison for whistle-blowing, you send the final message to our nation that the Obama administration brutally punished moral courage in these unforgiving United States.”

The song, taken from this year’s Mercury nominated Hopelessness, is a stark description of the musician’s fluctuating relationship with the president. It begins by describing her support for the Obama, before condemning him for “punishing the whistle blowers / those who tell the truth”.

Following the US election, and fearing the repercussions of Donald Trump’s presidency, Manning has appealed to Obama to commute her sentence and release her from military prison so she can have her “first chance to live a real, meaningful life”.

Anohni concludes:

She has suffered enough, President Obama.
She poses no threat.
Show us the heart of the Obama administration now.

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