Hanna Bogorowski, DCNF
The Australia government plans to deny an entry visa to convicted leaker and former U.S. soldier Chelsea Manning because he failed a character test required for entry.
Manning had speaking engagements planned in Australia starting on Saturday, according to his event organizer Thursday, but the Australian government sent Manning a letter notifying him of the government’s intention to deny him entry, Fox News reported.
The organizers of the tour Manning was scheduled to be a part of said they sent over 10 letters to the government that expressed support from other people and organizations, urging them to let him be accepted.
“We are looking for support from relevant national bodies or individuals, especially politicians, who can support Chelsea’s entry into Australia,” said Suzi Jamil, director of Think Inc., the organization that planned to bring Manning to Australia.
Manning is the transgender U.S. Army soldier who served seven years in military prison for leaking nearly 750,000 classified documents and was supposed to speak at the Sydney Opera House.
Section 501 of Australia’s Migration Act allows the immigration minister to deny anyone a visa if they do not pass “the character test.”
The minister can deny entry to an individual under the character test if they have a “substantial criminal record.”
“A person who has a ‘substantial criminal record’ will automatically fail the character test, regardless of any mitigating factors which attended their offending,” according to the Australian Human Rights Commission.
This isn’t the first time the convicted leader has been denied entry to another country.
Manning was not allowed to enter Canada in 2017 either, and says he was detained overnight before being told he was denied entry “on grounds of serious criminality,” according to Reuters.
Manning is “so far from a threat” to Australia, Jamil said, adding that former President Barack Obama commuted Manning’s sentence in January 2017, and that should be considered.
“We’re still really positive about the whole situation and we want to do everything in our power that we legally can in order to provide the reasoning behind why Chelsea should be able to enter our country,” Jamil told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.