From the Toronto Star
Jul 23, 2009 04:30 AM
Suaad Hagi Mohamud was done in by her lips.
A Kenyan official detained the Toronto woman in Nairobi because her lips didn’t match the ones in her passport photograph, according to documents released by her lawyer yesterday.
"I find it really troubling that was the basis of stopping her," said Raoul Boulakia, Mohamud’s Toronto lawyer.
Documents submitted in a Nairobi court curtly explain why she was detained: "After a comparison was done, it emerged that although the passenger and the passport holder had the same facial features, that passenger’s lips were different from that of the passport holder."
Mohamud has been marooned in Nairobi since May 17. The 31-year-old mother was on her way back to Toronto when she says a Kenyan officer stopped her at the Nairobi airport for not looking like her four-year-old passport photo.
She spent eight days in jail and was released on bail with no travel papers. Kenyan officials sent her passport to Canadian consular officials, who said she was an "imposter," voided the passport and sent it back to the Kenyans for prosecution.
She asked to be fingerprinted but the Canada Border Services Agency later admitted it didn’t have earlier prints to make a match.
But the Somali-born woman scored a small victory yesterday when the Canadian government agreed to DNA testing.
The government will also ask Kenya to postpone criminal proceedings against her till DNA testing is completed.
Mohamud is due in a Nairobi court tomorrow. She could be sent back to jail or even deported to her lawless native land.
"The government is asking them to delay (proceedings) for 10 to 12 weeks," said Boulakia. "But I don’t know if the Kenyans will do that."
DNA testing will be done on Mohamud, her son and husband, both of whom are in Toronto. Boulakia said her DNA sample will be taken within three days and shipped to Canada immediately.
The entire process will cost $810 – to be paid by the government – and will be completed within 10 days.
"We will know Suaad is really Suaad in less than two weeks," Boulakia said.
He agrees it is a step forward but he is cautious. "I think that we are making some progress and once we have scientific proof of identity, I can’t imagine what would be left for the government to say."
Yesterday, a spokesperson for Canada Border Services Agency declined comment. "… as this case is currently before the courts, it would be inappropriate for me to comment," Patrizia Giolti wrote in an email to the Star.
In Nairobi, Mohamud said she was "very happy and relieved" with the news of DNA testing. "It’s a very good thing. I feel closer to home and I can’t wait to hug my son."