Lawyers working with the Canadian government invited American whistleblower Chelsea Manning to travel to her immigration hearing in Montreal—and said that, if the government won the case, she would be thrown back out of the country. Manning, known for leaking thousands of military and government documents and cables to WikiLeaks, was recently denied entry to Canada. She was turned away on the basis of a prior conviction for espionage and other acts, which was commuted in 2017. The peculiar request from the Canucks was made ahead of a trial over the issue, set to begin Thursday. Manning’s lawyers informed the government that their client would be attending the hearing virtually from the U.S.
In a truly bizarre leap of logic, the Canadian government’s lawyers made an argument for getting Manning into—and then out of—Canada based on the fact that a removal order can only be enforced against someone who attends “their hearing from a location in Canada.” Immigration Review Board adjudicator Marisa Musto called this rationalization “confounding.” If Manning “were physically in Canada when the order was made, the requirement would be that she leave Canada. Given that she is already outside Canada, a fact which is not in question,” Musto wrote, Manning had not violated any immigration laws, and her case therefore did not require a removal order.