A Canadian deported from Kenya on Saturday while working for an opposition party in the African country says he was initially given a “flimsy” excuse about a visa issue.
Andreas Katsouris said officers eventually dropped “any pretence” that he was being kicked out for legal reasons.
The Toronto man was deported in the last days before the East African country’s contentious presidential election, which is set for Tuesday. In the past week, the country’s two main polling organizations have indicated a narrow race.
Katsouris said officers produced no documentation to justify his detention and went through his computer during the nearly-24 hours he was detained at the Nairobi airport.
A senior vice-president at Aristotle, Inc., Katsouris had been in the country acting as a political consultant for opposition candidate Raila Odinga, who has been vying for the presidency for more than a decade.
He said he hasn’t been provided with a concrete reason why he and his American colleague were deported.
Katsouris says a Kenyan official told them at first that they were we were being deported because they did not have the proper visas. Katsouris said they entered on tourist visas, but were in the process of getting those visas switched over.
“We challenged him on that. We said you don’t need to barge in with 15 people and do it this way if we’ve got a bureaucratic visa problem, and he didn’t put up much of an argument on that point,” he said, calling the visa excuse “flimsy.”
After that, he said, the officials “dropped any pretense for having a legal basis” for the deportation.
“They never mentioned it again, produced no charge or documentation to back it up and of course stole our laptops which would have nothing to do with a visa issue,” he said.