NZ Prime Minister says decision to award Mike Tyson a visa was a 'line call'

Associated Press

WELLINGTON, New Zealand - Prime Minister John Key says a decision by immigration officials to award former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson a visa to enter New Zealand was a "line call," given his criminal convictions.

Tyson, who is due to visit New Zealand on a speaking tour this month, was sentenced in 1992 to six years in prison after being convicted of rape.

A serious criminal conviction would usually lead to the refusal of a visa but Key said immigration officials were able to exercise discretion in individual cases.

Key said Tyson's visa application was approved on a "line call" because his conviction was 20 years ago and he'll be in New Zealand "for about 20 hours." He added: "It's a marginal call and there are always issues that have to be reflected."

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