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Chelsea Manning Reveals First Photo Since Being Released From Prison

It's the first time Chelsea Manning has been seen since being sentenced to prison years ago.
Image: Chelsea Manning's first photo after being releasedfrom prison
Chelsea Manning's first photo after being released from prison.Tim Travers Hawkins / via Twitter

On Thursday, just one day after walking free from the Fort Leavenworth prison in Kansas, the world saw 29-year-old Chelsea Manning's face for the first time in years.

The former U.S. Army intelligence analyst — who was sentenced to prison for sharing nearly 750,000 classified documents with WikiLeaks — posted a portrait to Instagram and Twitter.

Aside from a grainy, black-and-white selfie snapped in a car before she went to prison at age 22 — over seven years ago — the public has never seen a photo of Manning presenting as a woman.

The new photo was shot by documentary filmmaker Tim Travers Hawkins, the ACLU told NBC News. Hawkins is currently shooting a documentary about Manning's adjustment to life outside of prison, called "XY Chelsea."

One day after sentencing in 2013, Manning came out publicly as transgender in a statement given to the TODAY show that was read on air by Savannah Guthrie.

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After serving seven years of the 35-year sentence — a longer sentence than any other whistleblower has received in the U.S. — Obama commuted Manning's prison term last January.

Though she is now free to travel internationally, her military attorney David Coombs told NBC News, Manning remains on active duty. She will remain under military jurisdiction until the appeal she filed against her conviction is settled, which could take up to a few years.

However, Coombs said, if Manning waives her appeal she could receive discharge papers within a matter of months.

"Chelsea is still subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ)," Coombs told NBC News on Tuesday, the day before Manning's release. "She wouldn't be charged again for the same offenses, but if she committed a new crime, the military would still have jurisdiction over her."

"You would want to be careful in terms of what you want to write or say if you're still under military control," said Coombs, who last spoke with Manning in February. "Let's say you write something critical, now you run the real chance of being called on the carpet for that."

Another of Manning's attorneys, Chase Strangio of the ACLU, said on Tuesday that the whistleblower was looking forward to finally being allowed to express her gender identity after years of prison restrictions that included a mandate on short haircuts.

"After so many years of government control over her body and gender, I know she is eager to grow her hair, express her gender and negotiate decisions on her own terms," Strangio said.

Strangio was with his client on Wednesday as she posted a series of photos that reflected Manning's first steps back into civilian life: a slice of pepperoni pizza, a trio of champagne glasses being clinked together in a toast, and Manning's sneakers as she took her first steps outside of prison.