NAIROBI – A Kenyan court decided Friday to postpone the case of Suaad Hagi Mohamud, the Somali-born woman who was accused of faking her Canadian citizenship because she did not look like her passport photo, so she and her son in Toronto can undergo DNA testing.
Mohamud, who said she speaks to her 12-year-old son almost every day, will submit to DNA testing on Monday in Nairobi in hopes of ending what she says has become a nightmare. She should get the results in 10 days.
Friday’s court hearing lasted only a few minutes.
Mohamud, wearing an orange floral patterned head scarf, stood as the judge quickly agreed to put off the next hearing until Oct. 16 so that the Canadian government can study the DNA tests, which it has agreed to pay for.
"I feel in pain, to be honest, I feel really sick," Mohamud told the Star of her ordeal after her hearing was adjourned on Friday. "My country let me down – that’s what really makes me mad."
Mohamud, 31, was detained at Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on May 21 after spending nearly a month visiting her mother in Kenya.
Mohamud was told that while most of her features matched those of her passport photograph, her lips and the glasses she wore were not the same.
The Canadian High Commission in Kenya later decided that she was an impostor and cancelled her passport.
High Commission officials have not explained their reasons, saying only in a letter to Kenyan immigration officials that the determination was made after "conclusive investigations including an interview."
Two Canadian consular officials who attended Friday’s hearing refused to speak to the Star, give their names or even shake hands.
Mohamud is charged with using another person’s passport and being in Kenya illegally. If found guilty, she could be imprisoned or deported back to Somalia, a country that has been embroiled in chaos for more than 15 years.
After her court hearing on Friday, Mohamud’s Nairobi-based lawyer, Lucas Naikuni, said he was optimistic that Mohamud would get to go back to Canada.
He said he felt frustrated because while the Canadian government said she was travelling under someone else’s passport, it hadn’t tried to track down the real Suaad Hagi Mohamud or to identify who his client really was.
"They are saying she’s hiding her name," Naikuni told the Star. "So my question is, if she’s hiding her name, what’s her actual name? I’ve been with her now for the last two months. It would be very easy for me to detect if she were lying, I interact with her a lot."
According to Naikuni, the Canadian government ought to have kept the fingerprints that Mohamud gave when she applied for Canadian citizenship.
"I would imagine that being a government of a developed country such as this, you just touch the computer and get the information," Naikuni said. "So we are only left to conclude that this case is one of malicious prosecution, it’s only intent is to inflict pain and punishment to our client. We do not understand why they would want to do that."
Mohamud, a supervisor with Andlauer Transportation Services, says she has been aching to see her 12-year-old son and hopes that the DNA testing will bring her back to him.
"There are rights and freedoms in my country and they took that away from me," Mohamud said. "I’ve been here two months from the day that I was supposed to go back to him. I’d do anything to be with my son."
"I have done nothing illegal," she said.