Australia to block Chelsea Manning visit: event organizer

Australia to block Chelsea Manning visit: event organizer
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Australia will not allow Chelsea Manning, who was convicted of leaking classified information, to enter the country on her speaking tour, Manning’s event organizer told The Associated Press Thursday.

Think Inc. told the AP that the Australian government on Wednesday notified the company that Manning would not be allowed into the country.

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According to the report, Manning can appeal the decision, but past precedent suggests that the decision will not be overturned.

Think Inc. told the AP that it gave the government more than ten letters of support for Manning’s entry and is attempting to get other Manning supporters to lobby Immigration Minister David Coleman.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison told the AP that the decision rested with Coleman, who took office on Tuesday.

“Ms. Manning offers formidable ideas and an insightful perspective which we are hoping to bring to the forefront of Australian dialogue,” Think Inc. Director Suzi Jamil told AP in a statement.

Manning was convicted of leaking military and diplomatic documents to WikiLeaks while working as an Army intelligence analyst. Former President Obama granted her clemency seven years into her 35-year sentence. 

Manning, a transgender activist and former candidate for Senate in Maryland, was scheduled to begin her speaking tour at the Sydney Opera House Sunday, continuing on to other events in Australia and New Zealand.

The Department of Home Affairs told the AP it could not comment on individual cases, but that all foreign nationals attempting to enter Australia must meet the Migration Act’s character standards.

Amnesty International national director Claire Mallinson told the AP that the decision to deny Manning entry is sending “a chilling message that freedom of speech is not valued by our government.”

New Zealand’s immigration officials are anticipated to decide whether or not Manning will be allowed into that country by Friday. Manning will only be allowed in by a “special direction” visa, as her relatively recent criminal conviction otherwise prohibits her from entering.

AP reports that New Zealand’s center-right National Party opposes letting Manning across the border. If Manning is denied, she can opt to have the decision reviewed by New Zealand’s immigration minister.