Australia issued a notice of intent to ban convicted leaker Chelsea Manning from entering the country just days befor a scheduled speaking tour is set to commence at the Sydney Opera House Sunday, with events in Melbourne, Auckland, Wellington and Brisbane, her event organizer said Thursday. Human rights organizations are sounding alarm, calling on Canberra not to silence the whistleblower.
“Ms. Manning offers formidable ideas and and insightful perspective which we are hoping to bring to the forefront of Australian dialogue,” Think Inc. Director Suzi Jamil said in a statement.
Australia moves to deny alleged Iraq war whistleblower Chelsea Manning entry days before speaking date at Sydney Opera House. Australia also denies uncharged publisher @JulianAssange his Australian passport. However, it granted entry to convicted Iraq war general, David Petraeus pic.twitter.com/xweboaw8FC
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) August 30, 2018
The organizer of the speaking tour, Australia’s Think Inc, has voiced its disappointment over the authorities’ intention, saying that she “poses no threat” to the Australian public. Think Inc has already collected support letters from both individuals and organizations and applied to Immigration Minister David Coleman and Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton to step up for the whistleblower, RT reported.
Here's our official statement on Chelsea Manning's current visa status. pic.twitter.com/RrrYnudWsJ
— Think Inc. (@thinkincAU) August 30, 2018
Manning herself believes that, together with the organizers, they will “work it out,”according to the Guardian Australia.
If an initial submission to the immigration minister fails, then Think Inc will have to work on an appeal. However, this could take months, Australian human rights lawyer George Newhouse toldthe ABC.
“Australians have a right to engage in important discussions about human rights. Silencing Chelsea Manning is a denial of her right to freedom of expression,” Amnesty International wrote, calling on the government to grant Manning entry to Australia.
The rights organization launched a petition supporting the activist, which has already gained more than 4,000 signatures. The National Justice Project also voiced its support.
Fox News reports:
This isn’t the first time Manning was denied entry to a country. Last year, she was barred from entering Canada, but was later allowed to appear at another event, Reuters reported.
After her trip to Australia, Manning is expected to travel to neighboring New Zealand. Immigration officials in New Zealand are expected to make a decision by Friday on whether to grant her a “special direction” visa.
She doesn’t qualify for entry otherwise because she has a criminal conviction within the last 10 years for which she had a sentence exceeding 1 year, according to the country’s visa rules.
Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison after she was found guilty of leaking military and diplomatic documents to WikiLeaks. She served seven years in prison before her sentence was commuted in 2017 by then-President Barack Obama.