Saturday, August 15, 2009

Gee...Ya Think?

Imagine that? The Canadian government is actually going to look into what happened to Suaad Mohamud. Isn't that good of them?

After staunchly refusing to recognize her citizenship for weeks on end, the federal government is now probing how it handled the case of a Canadian woman who has returned home after being detained in Kenya for months over an identity dispute.

Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan said the Canada Border Services Agency is preparing a report detailing just how Somali-born Mohamud, who was visiting her mother in Kenya, ended up spending eight days in jail and over two months holed up in a hotel room as she struggled to prove who she was.

"From where we see it now it looks like it needs a bit of an explanation," said Van Loan "What decisions were made and why and to get a sense of what actually occurred."

From where he sees it now? Basing a person's citizenship on the size of her lips in a 4 year old photo wasn't enough of a clue that something was wrong?

Our government isn't only deplorable, it's comprised of idiots. This is not going to end here.

"We want an official review of the high commission," said Ahmed Hussen, president of the Canadian Somali Congress. "A lot of questions remain unanswered."

According to Hussen, Mohamud's case is not an isolated incident.

He pointed to the case of a young Somali Canadian man who has been stranded in Kenya for almost three years after an error on his mother's part left him without a passport

Are any of you familiar with that case? It concerns Abdihakim Mohamed? Yes indeed, yet another Canadian abandoned by the government of Canada.
His story is a bit complex. He's autistic you see and that condition was causing him some difficulty here, so, on the advice of a psychiatrist, his mother, Anab Mohamed Issa decided to take him to her native Somalia to experience a change in culture, in 2004. It worked well and Abdihakim adjusted nicely to living with her family and while she didn't want to leave her son, she had to return to Canada to continue her employment.

When she returned to Canada, she took his passport with her. She knew of the danger of the passport being stolen in Somalia and because he was autistic, she had power of attorney, of property. In spite of that, when she returned in 2005, the border agency in Canada took his passport from her.


In 2006, her relative became ill so she decided to go back and bring her son home.

She took him to Nairobi, to apply for a passport at the Canadian High Commission there, which serves Somalia.

The immigration officer in Nairobi didn't believe Mr. Mohamed was who his mother said he was; one of the issues seems to be that he didn't seem autistic enough. The photo on his citizenship card was taken when he was younger, although to my eye, it bears a strong resemblance to a more recent photo

Ms. Issa returned to Canada, leaving her son under the imperfect care of relatives in Nairobi. She kept trying to get him a passport. Mr. Mohamed is unhappy in Kenya; his autism and his Somali ethnicity make him vulnerable to thuggery and harassment from the authorities.

In April 2008, Ms. Issa got a letter from Passport Canada informing her she was under investigation for her "involvement in attempting to obtain a passport for an imposter in the name of [her] son Abdihakim."

But she hasn't been charged with anything.
How do you describe this as anything less than criminal? It's intimidation by our government. Yes, here in Canada, our government is intimidating her.
Disgusted yet? Yet again I should say?

It must be remembered here, that Stephen Harper himself is in charge of Foreign Affairs. I know that he has his hand in every file, but Foreign Affairs is most assuredly, one of his babies.

Then, in July, the same agency said she couldn't apply for a regular passport on her son's behalf anyway, because Mr. Mohamed's mental incapacity preceded the granting of Power of Attorney. Passport Canada told her she needs a court order giving her guardianship.

Ms. Issa would be happy to oblige -- but that process requires Abdihakim to be in Canada.

Umm, what?

Her other option, Passport Canada said, was to apply for a passport of limited validity on compassionate grounds.
But then, in November, Passport Canada told her that "there remains the issue surrounding the true identity of this individual, which must be resolved before a travel document will be issued."

Are you sensing a pattern here? A circuitous list of demands that the government is putting up, made impossible to meet?

Jean Lash of South Ottawa Community Legal Services has been gathering a pile of affidavits from Canadian citizens who know Mr. Mohamed and can vouch for his identity. Mr. Mohamed has offered to submit to DNA testing, Ms. Lash says, but Passport Canada hasn't taken him up on the offer.

"He had a valid passport, which was seized by the government," says Toronto lawyer David Yerzy, who knows Mr. Mohamed and signed an affidavit attached to his recent photo. "It's not lost. All he needs is a passport renewal."

Think back to Mohamud's case. The Canadian officials, shredded and/or voided, her passport. Imagine that for a minute. You're a Canadian and Canadian officials are shredding your passport and identity.

I generally try to stand clear of outrage, but I just cannot believe what is going on here.

Here is another article by the writer of the previous one. I think she is too polite in this case, but that's her job. She's been a stalwart on these issues and I would recommend that you follow her work.

So, who's with me in promoting and pushing this story to gain some light?

Something is horribly broken in our system and Harper doesn't seem overly inclined to fix it. Why would he? Such stories feed red meat to the whacko aspect of his base.
Note: Some follow up to Suaad's case.

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