Stranded Woman Going Home

Stranded woman coming home

Michelle Shephard
National Security Reporter
Aug 14, 2009 08:40 AM

Comments on this story (36)

NAIROBI, KENYA Canadian Suaad Hagi Mohamud is scheduled to board a plane home to Toronto tonight after a high court judge dismissed all charges against her.

“I'm so happy. I'm just so so happy and can't wait to see my son,” the 31-year-old single mother said outside of court.

After a chaotic hearing this morning, where Mohamud was bounced between courtrooms and her file appeared lost at one point, prosecutor Paul Mwangangi said the government did not want to pursue the case.

Justice Stella Muketi ordered the court to return Mohamud's bail money and said she was in custody of Canadian officials who attended the hearing. She left the court with them bound for Canada's High Commission.

Since May, consular officials here had branded Mohamud an “imposter” and accused her of using a false passport.

On Wednesday, the High Commission's second secretary, Jonathan Boisseau, wrote a letter to Kenya's Director of Immigration Services asking that charges be withdrawn.

“The investigation of this matter by the Canadian Border Services Agency concluded on August, 11, 2009. It is the decision of the Government of Canada to allow (Mohamud) entry to Canada,” states the letter obtained by the Star.

Mohamud's lawyer, Lucas Naikuni, said outside of court that he plans to sue the Canadian and Kenyan governments, along with KLM Airlines, whose officials stopped Mohamud from boarding a flight home May 21. He called it a “malicious prosecution.”

“This is an embarrassment, that a developed country like Canada can do this to a citizen,” he said in an interview with the Star.

“We had to go to DNA testing we had to go that far?”

When Mohamud arrived at court this morning she said she was happier than she had been in weeks. But when it appeared her case could be postponed again, as she rushed to another courtroom she whispered, “Oh, my God. I'm not going home? I'm not going home.”

Yesterday during an interview with the Star at the guarded guesthouse where she has recently been staying she complained of a sort throat and aching chest. After three months of trying to figure out why she's trapped here, her head hurts too.

The doctor she visited yesterday thought the chest and throat pain could be related to the pneumonia she contracted during her eight-day detention in a Kenyan jail.

Her headache? Not getting an answer as to why Canadian officials here in Kenya's capital, botched the investigation into her identity. While there's innuendo and speculation in Ottawa, all that has been verified is that a Canadian diplomat here branded Mohamud an imposter because her lips looked different from her four-year-old passport picture.

Her lawyer said today that her trial is now being called “the lips case.”

“I never thought it was going to happen right after I became a Canadian citizen and I found a new home. I thought I (could) be far away from all this trouble,” the Somalia-born Canadian said as she fidgeted, twirling her long hair or twisting the ring on her thumb. “I really don't know what to say.”

Mohamud's plight began almost three months ago as she tried to board a KLM flight home after a visit. She has been coming to Kenya to see her mother annually without incident, but says she was not surprised when stopped at the airport as she had heard passengers sometimes get hassled for bribes.

But immigration officials detained her saying she did not look like her passport and Canadian officials later cancelled her passport, agreeing that she was an imposter. The government appears to have done an about-face since Monday's DNA testing.