The Turnbull Government has finally approved a travel visa for prominent Palestinian journalist Ali Abunimah.
The approval came through a few hours ago, Abunimah reported via his Twitter account.
I’m so grateful to every person who stood up for free speech. Delighted that I just received my visa for Australia. See you Down Under!
— Ali Abunimah (@AliAbunimah) March 15, 2016
On Tuesday, New Matilda reported on the unexplained delay in the approval of Abunimah’s visa to travel to Australia, to deliver an address to the annual Marxism conference in Melbourne later this month.
Abunimah is the editor and one of the founders of The Electronic Intifada, a pro-Palestine news outlet with millions of readers around the world.
He was booked to fly out this Friday, but had spent almost two months trying to secure a visa. Abunimah is a US citizen – ordinarily, the process takes just a few days, and is a simple application online. However, multiple attempts to secure a visa failed.
Eventually, Abunimah was forced to submit a formal written application.
According to the Department of Immigration website, the processing of applications from US citizens considered ‘high risk’ takes one month. It remains unexplained why Abunimah – a respected journalist who frequently speaks at international events on Palestine and press freedom – would be classed in this category.
Abunimah will be just one of a number of high profile speakers at the Marxism Conference. The four day event includes legendary Aboriginal activist Gary Foley, along with Khury Petersen-Smith, a key figure in the #blacklivesmatter movement in the US.
New Matilda’s own Amy McQuire will also be speaking at the event.
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