The Australian government is considering whether to refuse entry to whistleblower Chelsea Manning just days ahead of her speaking tour, Fairfax Media has reported.
Manning, who is scheduled to appear at the Sydney Opera House on Sunday, may be denied entry on the basis that she does not pass a character test in accordance with Australia’s Migration Act.
The 30-year-old former Army intelligence analyst pleaded guilty in 2013 to leaking more than 700,000 government files to WikiLeaks. She was sentenced to 35 years in prison but was released in May 2017 after former President Barack Obama commuted her sentence in January of that year.
A spokesperson from the Department of Home Affairs told HuffPost that while it does not comment on individual cases, “a person can fail the character test for a number of reasons, including but not limited to where a non-citizen has a substantial criminal record or where their conduct represents a risk to the Australian community.”
The Australian Broadcasting Corp. has reported that Think Inc., the Australian organizer of Manning’s speaking tour, has written to supporters urging them to “support Chelsea’s entry into Australia.”
“We have just received a Notice of Intention to Consider Refusal … in regards to Chelsea’s Visa,” Think Inc.’s director Suzi Jamil wrote.
“We are seeking letters of support to send to the Minister for Immigration in order for him to reconsider his decision.”
In a letter sent to the Minister for Immigration, the leader of the Australian Greens party, Richard Di Natale, has said that he is “deeply disappointed” to hear that Manning’s entrance to the country may be refused.
“It is worth noting that former US President Obama decided to commute her sentence in January 2017,” he said in a statement.
“At the time, President Obama stressed that Ms Manning took responsibility for her actions and had received an excessive sentence. It is clear that Ms Manning is not a public figure who incites violence or hate. Her actions have always been focused on transparency and accountability.”