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Controversial whistleblower Chelsea Manning fighting to be let into Canada

Canadian government is arguing she is inadmissible due to her prior convictions

Former army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, seen in 2016, speaks with reporters, outside federal court in Alexandria, Va. The Canadian government is seeking to permanently ban her from entering, arguing that she should be denied entry because of the seriousness of her prior convictions on espionage charges.

Former army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, seen in 2016, speaks with reporters, outside federal court in Alexandria, Va. The Canadian government is seeking to permanently ban her from entering, arguing that she should be denied entry because of the seriousness of her prior convictions on espionage charges.

Photo: Reuters

RCI

Chelsea Manning, the former U.S. intelligence analyst who was convicted in one the largest breach of classified information in history, is fighting to be allowed into Canada.

The Canadian government is seeking to ban her from entering, arguing that she should be denied entry because of the serious criminality of her prior convictions on espionage charges in her home country.

Manning and her lawyers will make her case at an admissibility hearing today, where she will testify virtually in front of the Immigration and Refugee Board. The administrative tribunal makes decisions about who can enter and stay in Canada.

The case dates back to September 2017 when border officers denied her entry at Quebec's St-Bernard-de-Lacolle border crossing. At the time, the government, citing her espionage charges, argued if committed in Canada, this offence would equate to an indictable offence, namely, treason.

In opening statements, her lawyer, Joshua Blum, argued her American offences are not equivalent to Canadian offences, making her not inadmissible. 

Beyond that, he argued Manning's actions were justified due to necessity and that the public interest in disclosing information outweighed the harm. 

Manning has been both lauded as a whistleblower and maligned as a traitor for leaking hundreds of thousands of classified government documents to WikiLeaks in 2010 while serving in the U.S. military. 

She said she wanted to expose what she considered to be the U.S. military's disregard for how the Iraq War was affecting civilians, and that she did it out of love for her country.

In 2013, she was convicted of six counts of violating the the United States's Espionage Act for providing more than 700,000 government files to WikiLeaks and a handful of other charges, including stealing government property. She was acquitted of the most serious charge against her, aiding the enemy.

In one of his last acts as president, Barack Obama commuted Manning's sentence in 2017, and she was released from military prison after serving seven years of a 35-year sentence.

Manning was granted a visa to enter Canada to speak at an event back in 2018, but it came with no formal resolution of her admissibility.

Catharine Tunney (new window) · CBC News ·

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