Chelsea Manning is fighting to be allowed into Canada, and the Canadian government recently made her an offer that she decided to refuse. In advance of a hearing that started Thursday, the former Army intelligence analyst was invited to attend in person in Montreal—so that border agents could physically remove her from the country if she lost her case, the Guardian reports. In a document seen by the National Post, government lawyers last week asked the Immigration and Refugee Board to postpone the hearing until Manning was physically present, arguing that the "purpose of a removal order is to compel an individual who is found to be inadmissible to leave Canada" and enforcing the order would be "impractical" if Manning attended remotely from the US.
IRB adjudicator Marisa Musto rejected the government's request on Monday, calling it "confounding," the Post reports. Musto noted that if the ruling went against Manning, she would be considered inadmissible whether she was in Canada or not. "Admissibility proceedings not only have the effect of removing inadmissible persons from Canadian territory but also to preclude them from entering," said Musto. Months after Barack Obama commuted her 35-year sentence in 2017, Manning tried to enter Canada but was told she was banned because of her conviction under the Espionage Act for passing classified documents about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to WikiLeaks.
"I really like Canada," Manning, appearing via videolink, told the hearing Thursday. She said she had been allowed to visit the country to speak at a conference in 2018. Foreign citizens can be declared inadmissible if they have been convicted of crimes that would have led to a sentence of 10 years or more in Canada, but Manning's attorneys argued Thursday that she would have been protected by Canadian whistleblower laws, the CBC reports. They played the "Collateral Murder" video leaked by Manning, showing a US Army attack in Baghdad that killed 12 people in 2007, including two Reuters employees. A decision on Manning's case is expected in the coming weeks. (Read more Chelsea Manning stories.)