World

Canadian trapped in Kenya awaits travel documents

Emergency travel documents are being prepared to bring back a Canadian woman whose DNA test has proven she is not an imposter and should not have been stranded in Kenya for months.

Emergency travel documents are being readied for a Canadian woman whose DNA test has proven she is not an imposter and should not have been stranded in Kenya for months.

Canada Border Services Agency spokeswoman Tracie LeBlanc said Tuesday work is being done to issue Suaad Hagi Mohamud travel documents for her return to Canada now that DNA tests have proven her identity.

LeBlanc declined to specify whether the documents include an emergency passport or when Mohamud would return.

Suaad Hagi Mohamud is pictured in her Canadian passport photo. ((CBC))

Mohamud, 31, hasn't been allowed to return to Toronto since mid-May when she tried to leave Nairobi following a two-week visit with her mother.

In an interview with CBC News on Tuesday, she said she is angry at the Canadian government for the way it handled her case.

"My Canadian High Commission told me that I'm an imposter," Mohamud said. "They wouldn't believe me.

"Of course I'm mad at them."

Mohamud's ordeal began when Kenyan immigration officials said her facial features looked the same, but her lips looked different than those of the person in the four-year-old Canadian passport photo, according to a document from Kenyan authorities.

The High Commission of Canada in Nairobi confiscated and voided her passport, told Kenyan government officials a thorough investigation determined Mohamud was an imposter and recommended that she be prosecuted.

Mohamud, who was born in Somalia, has said that she lost a lot of weight in the four years since her passport photo was taken. She showed the Kenyans other pieces of Canadian identification and offered to be fingerprinted. But she was charged with identity fraud and spent eight days in jail before she was released on bail.

Mohamud alleges she was being pushed to offer bribe money to be allowed to get on the plane to return home and she refused to pay.

'How wrong they are'

Her court case began in May but was put on hold pending the results of testing done on DNA collected from Mohamud, her ex-husband and their son in Toronto, which confirmed her identity on Monday.

Canadian officials in Kenya confiscated the passport of Suaad Hagi Mohamud and concluded she was an impostor. ((CBC))

"I am doing everything to prove them wrong — how wrong they are," she said.

Mohamud said she was confident all along that her identity would be proven. "If you are who you are, then you are who you are," she said.

Mohamud's lawyer, Raoul Boulakia, said the federal government should review how Canadian diplomatic missions behave when citizens go to them for help.

"I'd hate to be stuck in some country and call my embassy for help and get a reaction like this," he said.

Boulakia added he hopes the Canadian government will ask Kenya to drop all charges against Mohamud because they are a result of Canadian officials saying the voided passport was not hers.

Boulakia said his client is an example of a disturbing trend, that of Canadians who are stranded overseas with no support from Ottawa.

"Well, it seems like that this government sees some Canadian citizens as second-class citizens," he said. "They seem to treat it almost as if, 'You deserve whatever happened to you and why should we be helping you?'"

 

With files from The Canadian Press