Former US military whistleblower Chelsea Manning says she was denied entry into Canada because of her criminal record.
- Chelsea Manning says she will challenge the decision
- Canadian minister reluctant to intervene
- PM Justin Trudeau declines to comment
The transgender woman was known as Bradley Manning in 2013 when she was convicted of leaking a trove of classified documents.
She was released after serving seven years of a 35-year sentence, which was commuted by former president Barack Obama in his final days in office.
On Monday, she tweeted a letter from Canadian immigration officials that said she was refused entry because she was convicted of offences deemed equivalent to treason in Canada.
Tweet by Chelsea Manning: so, i guess canada has permanently banned me? @CitImmCanada denied entry b/c of convictions similar to “treason” offense
She tried to cross at the official border office at Lacolle, Quebec, on Friday.
Ms Manning says she’ll challenge the decision.
Can the decision be changed?
Canadian Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale suggested he would think hard before overruling a border officer’s decision.
“No such request has been made to me with respect to that matter,” Mr Goodale said.
“And, when a Canada Border Services officer has exercised appropriately within their jurisdiction the judgment that they are called upon to make, I don’t interfere in that process in any kind of a light or cavalier manner.”
People whose criminal records make them ineligible to enter Canada aren’t necessarily out of luck.
They can apply for what is known as a “temporary residency permit”, either before trying to enter the country or at the border. To be eligible, the person has to prove their need to enter or stay in Canada outweighs any risk they might pose to Canadian society.
Whether Ms Manning attempted to apply for such a permit is unknown.
Immigration lawyer Peter Edelmann said either the minister of public safety or immigration could also step into allow her to enter Canada, perhaps on humanitarian grounds.
“Both ministers could make an exception if they wanted,” he said.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declined to comment on the case, saying he wanted further details.
700,000 files sent to WikiLeaks
Ms Manning, a former military intelligence analyst, was convicted of providing more than 700,000 documents, videos, diplomatic cables and battlefield accounts to WikiLeaks, an international organisation that publishes such information from anonymous sources.
The Oklahoma native was convicted in 2013 of 20 counts, including six espionage act violations, theft and computer fraud.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, a target of criminal investigations in Sweden and the United States, had promised to accept extradition if Ms Manning was freed.
However, Mr Assange qualified that during an interview in January, saying any possible extradition would be dependent on striking a deal with the US Justice Department.