‘This nightmare will be over’

Aug 12, 2009 04:30 AM


The process to bring Suaad Hagi Mohamud home begins today with an appointment at the Canadian High Commission in Nairobi, Kenya.

Consular officials, who have caused the Toronto woman nothing but grief for nearly three months, are to take her information for a new travel document.

In Toronto, federal officials agreed in principle to ask Kenyan authorities to drop the false charges laid against the woman and begin arranging her flight home, said her lawyer, Raoul Boulakia.

"No timelines (were) promised," Boulakia wrote in an email about his two discussions yesterday with a federal lawyer and federal court judge. That means nobody can say yet when Mohamud might arrive in Canada.

"All I know is this nightmare will be over," Mohamud said on the phone from Nairobi after hearing that travel documents were being prepared. "I’m glad it’s finished."

Her troubles began May 21. She was preparing to leave the East African nation after a short visit when a Kenyan airport official suggested that she didn’t resemble the woman in her passport photo.

Mohamud interpreted the line as a solicitation for a bribe, she has said, and refused to pay. She was arrested and Canada’s high commission sided with the Kenyans.

"We have … confirmed that the person brought to (us) on suspicion of being an imposter is not the rightful holder of the aforementioned Canadian passport," wrote a Canadian consular official to Kenyan authorities on May 28.

The assessment was false, but exposed Mohamud to serious charges: being in Kenya illegally and using a passport not her own.

DNA test results verified Monday that Mohamud is who she claims to be: A Canadian citizen of Somali descent with a 12-year-old son in Toronto, anxiously waiting for her return.

Toronto lawyer Boulakia asked Federal Court yesterday to order Ottawa to issue the woman new travel papers, ask Kenya to drop the false charges against her, and put her on a flight to Toronto.

If an agreement is not reached this morning, the case would go to court tomorrow, he said.

Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms grants every Canadian citizen the right to leave the country and return, Boulakia said.

"The Canadian government obstructed her from doing that by telling the Kenyan government to charge and prosecute her," he said.

Results of the DNA results showed a 99.99 per cent match between Mohamud and her son, Mohamed Hussein.

The tests also showed Mohamud is 282 times more likely to be the boy’s mother than an aunt.

On two occasions, federal officials appeared to suggest that Mohamud had switched identities with a sister. She has four half-sisters.


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