New Zealand allows Chelsea Manning entry

By @chelean on
Chelsea Manning
Whistleblower Chelsea Manning talks during the Roskilde Festival 2018 at the Gloria Stage about activism in Roskilde, Denmark, July 5, 2018. Picture taken July 5, 2018. Ritzau Scanpix/Torben Christensen via Reuters

New Zealand has allowed Chelsea Manning to enter the country for her speaking tour. Australia, meanwhile, has reportedly derailed her scheduled engagements in the country.

Manning, whose sentence had been commuted by former US president Barack Obama in 2017, needed special dispensation to be granted a visa to enter Australia and New Zealand. Both countries subject applicants to character provisions. And since Manning’s conviction of violating the US Espionage Act still stands, it was feared that she would be denied to enter the countries.

However, Immigration New Zealand General Manager Steve Stuart has granted Manning a “special direction,” which would allow her to apply for a working visa for her planned speaking tour next month.

Stuart noted that while Manning was convicted of a serious offence and was sentenced to 35 years’ imprisonment, she has not reoffended since her sentence was commuted by Obama.

“The assessment noted that Ms Manning has not reoffended since her release from prison and the likelihood of her offending while in New Zealand is considered low. It was also noted that she has travelled to a number of countries to speak at similar events and appears to have complied with the terms and conditions of any visas issued,” his letter reads.

Earlier this week, tour organiser Think Inc feared that Australia would not approve Manning’s visa. It had asked her supporters to write letters to Immigration Minister David Coleman to allow her entry.

The Home Affairs has not yet made a decision, and it seems it wouldn’t do so in time. Sydney Opera House’s Antidote festival organisers confirmed to the Guardian that the home affairs department had given notice it wouldn’t be able to make a decision in time for Manning’s first event on Sunday. She will instead be interviewed from Los Angeles via satellite.

Manning is still due to appear in Melbourne on Sep. 7 and in Brisbane on Sep. 11.

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