Arguing that she is "inadmissible on grounds of serious criminality for having been convicted of an offense outside Canada," the Canadian government appears to have "permanently banned" whistleblower Chelsea Manning from entering the country—a discovery that prompted outrage from civil libertarians after it was reported Monday by The Intercept.
"A key political fact in the West: war criminals are never punished; only those who expose them are."
—Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept
"Obviously Chelsea Manning doesn't present any danger to Canada's security," Jameel Jaffer, director of the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, told The Intercept in response to the news. "And isn't it clear that Canadians, like Americans, would benefit from engaging her in discussion and debate?"
Manning found out about the ban at a New York-Quebec border, BBC News reports, and she posted a letter she received from Canadian immigration officials on Twitter.
The letter notes that "if committed in Canada [Manning's] offense would equate to an indictable offense, namely Treason described under section 46(2)(B) of the Criminal Code of Canada, punishable under section 47(2)(C) of the Criminal Code of Canada, for which a maximum penalty of 14 years imprisonment may be imposed."
Minutes after posting the Canadian government's letter, Manning vowed to challenge the denial of entry, but noted that no court date has been set.
Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison in 2013 after she was convicted of espionage by a military court for leaking U.S. military and diplomatic cables to Wikileaks.
After seven years of jail time—including long stints in solitary confinement—Manning's sentence was commuted by former President Barack Obama, and she was released in May.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked about the ban on Monday, but declined to comment.
Glenn Greenwald, co-founding editor at The Intercept, argued that Canada's decision to bar Manning from entering the country reveals a fundamental and uncomfortable fact about the treatment of whistleblowers, in contrast to the treatment of those whose crimes they expose.
"A key political fact in the West: war criminals are never punished; only those who expose them are," Greenwald wrote on Twitter.