Woman who was detained in Kenya suing Ottawa for $2.5 million

TORONTO — A Canadian woman who was stranded in Kenya by false claims that she was an impostor has launched a $2.5-million lawsuit against the federal government over her three-month ordeal.

TORONTO — A Canadian woman who was stranded in Kenya by false claims that she was an impostor has launched a $2.5-million lawsuit against the federal government over her three-month ordeal.

The federal government owes Suaad Hagi Mohamud an apology and should strike a public inquiry to find out whether her race was a factor in her alleged mistreatment by Canadian officials, her lawyers said Friday.

“I was alone when my government let me down,” said Mohamud, 31.

“I don’t care about money. … I’m only (going) to court so this never happens to another Canadian citizen.”

Mohamud, who was born in Somalia and has lived in Canada for 10 years, was detained and barred from leaving Kenya after authorities said her lips did not match her four-year-old passport photo.

Canadian officials branded her an imposter, voided her passport and handed it over to Kenyan authorities for prosecution.

Mohamud was jailed for nine days, not knowing whether she would ever see her 12-year-old son again.

It was a “horrible time,” she said. The jail was overcrowded. She slept on the floor. Children were locked up with their mothers.

“I never want another Canadian to go through such a troubled thing,” she said.

“One lady had blood on her hand. They said it was blood from the person she killed. I was afraid. I couldn’t sleep.”

Mohamud returned to Toronto last Saturday after genetic tests proved her identity and the charges against her were dropped.

Her son Mohamed, who was left in the care of family friends, is so traumatized that every time she leaves, he is afraid that she will never return, Mohamud said.

One of her lawyers, Julian Falconer, called her ordeal Kafkaesque, saying he’d never seen anything like it.

An inquiry is needed to probe whether Mohamud’s race and culture played a role in how she was treated, said Falconer, who represented Maher Arar in his lawsuit against Ottawa.

“If a Caucasian person had been in Suaad’s position in Kenya, would she have received the callous and reckless treatment she did?” he said.

“We don’t know the answer. We need someone to look at it and answer that question, because frankly, I find it hard to believe that a white, Anglo-Saxon person in her position would have been treated the same way.”

Lawyer Raoul Boulakia, who tried to secure Mohamud’s return through the courts, said federal officials refused to provide information that would have shed light on what happened to her.

The public may never see the results of an internal government investigation into Mohamud’s case either, he added.

“I believe it’s because they didn’t want to give me all the ammunition to prove that they did a completely negligent job of investigating her identity,” he said.

Just Posted

Smoke and pets do not mix

Pet owners are encouraged to break out the chew toys dogs and… Continue reading

Man causes mischief with axe in Ponoka

Arson and attempted break and enter charges laid

Red Deer RCMP look for fraud suspect

Red Deer RCMP are looking for public assistance to identify a fraud… Continue reading

WATCH: Raising money for kids at the Gord Bamford Charity Golf Classic

Former NHL players, Olympians, pro rodeo circuit members and musicians teed off… Continue reading

Oilpatch fears delays as U.S. judge orders further review of KXL pipeline route

CALGARY — Potential delays in the completion of the Keystone XL pipeline… Continue reading

‘Queen of Soul’ Aretha Franklin dies at 76

NEW YORK — Aretha Franklin, the undisputed “Queen of Soul” who sang… Continue reading

Arrests in Burnaby, B.C., as order against Kinder Morgan protest camp enforced

BURNABY, B.C. — The RCMP arrested protesters Thursday as officers enforced a… Continue reading

‘Hot and dirty work:’ Commander describes fighting massive Ontario wildfire

BRITT, Ont. — From a helicopter flying over a smouldering swath of… Continue reading

Calgary Fire Department logs record opioid overdose calls in July

CALGARY — The Calgary Fire Department says there were a record number… Continue reading

RCMP in Burnaby, B.C., say Kinder Morgan protest camp to be dismantled

BURNABY, B.C. — The RCMP arrested protesters when officers enforced a court… Continue reading

Study: Smokers better off quitting, even with weight gain

NEW YORK — If you quit smoking and gain weight, it may… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month