Thursday, August 13, 2009

Suaad Hagi Mohamud: more harassment by Foreign Affairs [updated]

Slip. Cup. Lip.

Toronto Star's John Goddard is on the case of this grossly ill-treated Canadian citizen.

Suaad Hagi Mohamud, marooned for weeks in Kenya because of the incompetence and/or racism of Canadian consular officials in Nairobi, was summoned to the High Commission today to fill out forms and to have her picture taken. An official who had been on the job for a whole three weeks, apparently reading from a one-word script, said No to all of her requests.

No identification papers would be issued. Those will only be given to her on the day she leaves the country.

Mohamud's mother had to put up $2500 in bail money to get her out of a Kenyan jail where she had been confined thanks to Canadian consular officials. Could this be repaid, and the High Commission retrieve the sum from the Kenyans later, given that bail refunding is a lengthy process?

No. She will have to stay in Kenya, she was told, until the money is returned.

Her luggage was seized by a Kenyan slum landlord because she ran out of money to pay the rent. Could the High Commission help?


In Ottawa, a spokesperson for Foreign Affairs said: "There are several steps that need to be gone through before a travel document can be issued."


Petty, vicious little bureaucrats. And the buck stops with the petty, vicious little Minister of Foreign Affairs. His name is Lawrence Cannon, and he may be emailed at this address. Why not drop him a line?

UPDATE: (August 13) This has finally proven too much for the Conservatives to stonewall. Stephen Harper has now issued a statement promising that Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan will deliver a "full accounting" of the Canadian Border Services Agency's role in this case, and stating that it is now a "priority" to repatriate Mohamud:

Our first priority as a government is obviously to see her get on a flight back to Canada, I know that's been the focus of Foreign Affairs in this matter, and will continue to be.

But there are a couple of odd aspects of his statement. The first is that he refers to the affair as "not an easy case," which suggests "complex," but it is nothing of the kind. Consular officials behaved abominably towards a Canadian citizen, and sheer pressure forced this outcome, period.

The second is that Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon, surely the lead Minister in this affair, isn't even mentioned. Indeed, as Harper's statement above indicates, he and his department seem to be getting a pass. Very strange.

[H/t reader Marky Mark]

UPPERDATE: Canadian Cynic asks a disturbing question:

[H]as anyone considered what would have happened if Mohamud hadn't had a son for DNA comparison purposes? What if she'd been single and childless? What then?

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