55

Toronto woman sues for “Kafka-esque nightmare”

Demands $2.5 million from Ottawa, an independent inquiry, and an apology from Stephen Harper


 

Suaad Hagi Mohamud, 31, is suing Ottawa for $2.5 million after being detained in Kenya for three months when KLM airline and Kenyan government officials said she did not look like the photograph in her Canadian passport. She is also demanding an independent inquiry and an apology from Stephen Harper. “I was alone when my government let me down,” said Mohamud at a news conference. Her lawyer says Mohamud had her “identity stolen from her,” like something out of a Franz Kafka novel.

Toronto Star


 
Filed under:

Toronto woman sues for “Kafka-esque nightmare”

  1. Cue the racists…..3…2…1

    • Boy did you call it.

  2. I don't think people should be able to sue the government, but I sympathise completely with Ms. Mohamud and she deserves a very thorough explanation — as do we all.

    • Are you really saying she should be satisfied with an explanation?

      • No, sorry, I should have said she deserves an explanation, vindication, and the satisfaction of seeing the Minister thoroughly embarrassed. Maybe she morally deserves more than that, but I'm opposed on principle to having citizens sue the government.

        • I don't quite get it Jack, if the government takes your land, you are entitled to compensation. How can you not be entitled to compensation if they take a couple of months of your life?

        • I understand the general principle behind your reservations. But I think, given the extensive corporate nature of modern governments and their bureaucracies, we need some mechanism to hold them accountable in extraordinary circumstances. (Mohamud's counts as extraordinary, I think we all agree.)

          Barring a decent alternative (either some dedicated tribunal of sorts, or charging every individual remotely connected with criminal negligence, conspiracy, etc…) civil suits are probably the most efficient and timely way to proceed. Not ideal, but they at least avoid the probelms of governments investigating themselves, and they tend to get attention from those in power when other means would not.

          • It could be more like workman's compensation. Assume that governments will inevitably have a need to recompense people, have them contribute to a fund. A government that performs well could then have its premiums go down.

  3. Oh please…..does this come as any surprise to anyone? Don't apologize Mr. Harper and furthermore why shud I as a Canadian Taxpayer pay for someone's stupidity for not renewing their passport with an up-to-date photo. Quite frankly, I don't give a da*n who it is. Rules are rules!!!!! Time to send a message to those who don't follow them. Signed……A CANADIAN CITIZEN

    • "Rules are rules!!!!! Time to send a message to those who don't follow them. Signed……A CANADIAN CITIZEN"

      What rules? It was a valid passport. The photo might be 4 years old, but that doesn't make her passport or citizenship invalid.

      Your tirade lacks empathy for someone who has been wronged by her government. I wonder how you'd feel if it was a relative of yours treated in this manner?

      • I fully agree Douglas. This person obviously doesn't travel using a passport enough to understand the rules of obtaining, holding and providing a passport to officals.

        • Carl, you could not be more wrong than to surmise that I" do not travel nor do I understand the rules of obtaining, holding and providing a passport to officials" as it is emphatically quite the contrary. Signed……A CANADIAN CITIZEN

  4. A thourough investigation and punishment for those who let this slip should be a given (and seems to have already been started), but 2.5 million dollars?! It was three months of detainment – a significant obstruction of her life, but not abuse, or torture, or illegal extradition, or anything beyond a mix-up that went too far. She was ultimately found innocent of the crimes for which she was accused in Kenya. Some monetary compensation I can understand, an apology from those responsible (likely not Harper) sure, but 2.5 million is well beyond what this woman deserves.

    There's setting wrongs right and then there's taking advantage of a situation for personal gain. This strikes me as the latter.

    • That's why there are courts Craig O. Why not let the court system decide if what she wants is too much before you let loose all your moral outrage that it's not fair she's suing the government?

      As I said.. if her position is found ultimately to be correct and worthwhile under Canadian Law.. then Cinservatives and their supporters should suck it up and accept it.. being as they're supposedly the only law and order party out there.

    • That's why there are courts Craig O. Why not let the court system decide if what she wants is too much before you let loose all your moral outrage that it's not fair she's suing the government?

      As I said.. if her position is found ultimately to be correct and worthwhile under Canadian Law.. then Conservatives and their supporters should suck it up and accept it – being as they're supposedly the only law and order party out there, they should be willing to accept a judgment even if it goes against them.

      • First, who said I'm a Conservative supporter? I'd like to see Harper tossed out on his behind as much as the next left-of-center guy, but that doesn't mean I'm going to blindly support any of his detractors when it doesn't make sense.

        Secondly, since the bulk of her claim will likely be in response to emotional trauma suffered, it's completely intangible. There is no metric for measuring that, meaning it's entirely subjective. As such, the size of her claim has a direct influence on what she gets – the judge doesn't use law, but rather feeling to make a decision. That's not law and order – that's the rediculous "legal" system the Americans use and abuse, suing everyone for every little infraction and getting rediculous sums of money for it.

        Our legal system isn't perfect. Even if a judge decides one way, that doesn't mean I, or anyone else, has to agree with ruling, especially on such subjective matters. Again, if this is about setting wrongs right, an investigation with public punishment for those responsible should suffice – any monetary compensation should be for the costs accrued while detained, plus her lost wages, minus her typical cost of living in Canada. Unless this woman is the CEO of a large company, I would suspect those fees top out at 500 thousand dollars, at most. The rest is either hyperbole or greed.

    • That's why there are courts Craig O. Why not let the court system decide if what she wants is too much before you let loose all your moral outrage that it's not fair she's suing the government?

      As I said.. if her position is found ultimately to be correct and worthwhile under Canadian Law.. then Conservatives and their supporters should suck it up and accept it.. being as they're supposedly the only law and order party out there.

  5. it should be disallowed by law , if you become a Canadian Citizen you cannot hold another passport . Canadian Passports should only be issued to people who have face that the authorities can clearly see , that applies to drivers license as well . Don't allow anyone to sue the Government over their stupidity .

    • Well Ron, as I said.. if a judge agrees with her position.. you really don't have much to complain about, do you?

    • There is no requirement to relinquish citizenship when you come to Canada. If you want that, lobby your Government. Try actually discussing the law, not the fact that your country works a certain way. That's like complaining about Parlimentary Process.

  6. This is a nice racket some people got going on here. Mohamud is going to sue due to "callous, incompetent, and reckless behaviour on the part of government officials." Can all Canadians sue for that because that describes every interaction I have ever had with Canadian bureaucracy.

    I also like the suing for $2.5 million but it's not about the money canard.

    • Considering Maher Arar got 11.5 million $ for the way he was treated, his rights abused, illegally extradited, and the fact he was tortured, I'd say the 2.5 million$ figure for a woman denied her Canadian citizenship and accused as an impostor falsely for 3 months, and the lack of help she got from Canada is quite reasonable; in fact the government should count its stars lucky its not higher.

      Regardless, the Conservative government has no one to blame but themselves for this.. and I hope the family of Abdihakim Mohamed, once he gets home from his forced exile , decides to sue this embarrassment of a Conservative government as well.

      Besides.. you conservative supporters are supposedly all in favour of the rule of law. All Suaad and her lawyer are doing is exercising her legal right to sue for this. If a judge agrees with them that their amount and complaint is justified, you shouldn't have any reason to complain a judge found the government in abuse of her Charter rights as a Canadian citizen and thus compensated her for it. It might even teach the Conservatives to stop trying to pick and choose who they want to help, and how they treat certain Canadians abroad.

  7. I am curious as to who was her Guarantor which stated 'the photo was a true likeness of the applicant'. If the ruling is in this indiviudal's favour, then maybe as a Taxpayer I can sue them?
    You think???????

    • Only if we can all sue you for wasting our time.

      • Sean I don't have that kind of money to make it wort h your while, so you will have to wait until I get thrown in jail in Kenya for nine days, have my Government come to my aid, then once safely back home sue my fellow Canadians. For f a 30-day stopover, the sum equals $27,777.77 per day. Now you have to admit, that is pretty good money. Do you make that much?

        Seriously, as this person is a Canadian Citizen I am glad this person is back in Canada and no harm was inflicted upon her, however one should not dismiss ' negligence' on her part to ensure the photo in question met standards. If she had been prevented from travelling by Canadian Officials at the time of departure because of it , how it would have played out?

        • I gather you don't understand the process… She was there for over three months, not 30 days, and in addition, when you go IN to the passport office, they compare your photos. It's visually done at the moment you apply, and during the creation of the passport. You cannot get another photo put on your passport, you HAVE to PURCHASE another passport for $80+ dollars. Who normally does that when they gain 20 Lbs or change clothing, would you? The onus is on a government who provides passports but isn't willing to put biometrics into them or fingerprint those who get the passports.

          • Carl: I apologize, my error in typing the number of days of detainment .

            With regards to your question to me personally, I frequently travel internationally and YES by all means I ensure my photo is in accordance with recommendations. It is called 'PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY' (onus). Also I wonder if this particular traveller registered herself with Canadian authorities prior t to her departure; to a country no less that is on the Canadian Advisory List.

            In conculsion, for your information I fully understand 'the present process' and thus from your statement(s) it appears to me, you may not..

  8. Is there a minority around any longer who doesn't jump to the pump to use the discrimination card every chance they get, particularly if there is a dollar in it. It is long overdue to openly discuss the reverse discrimination that has gone in this country for the last 25 years. I am sick and tired of my hard earned tax dollars going to assuage someones perceived guilt over history. No wonder I quit voting.

    • Just because she is a minority doesn't mean she doesn't have a just case. In this case the monies would be paid out for recent events, not 'perceived guilt over history.'

    • She's not suing for discrimination, she's suing for neglect if not malice on the part of the government.

    • Up the Hoop, are you a minority? It seems that those who generalize that the race/discrimination card is overused likely don't really understand or can empathize with those who have been discriminated against far too many times because of their skil colour. It would be interesting if someone could do some research on how many cases like this happen to white Canadian citizens versus visible minoriities.

      I agree with Scott Tribe; this woman deserves to sue. It sounded like an awful experience, in some ways like torture. She will likely not get anything close to $2.5m, but most lawsuits start with a high figure.

    • What does this have to do with being a minority?

      If you travelled to Kenya, you probably wouldn't have had the issue, because you're (I'm guessing here) white, in a black country. I'm white to be honest, and I understand your point on affirmative action going backwards sometimes, but this isn't the case at all here. I suggest you leave the white hat at the door next time.

  9. Douglass…I did NOT say NOR did I insinuate that the passport or citizensip in question was invalid. Furthermore my statement is not 1) a speech of violent denunciation, 2) a trantrum of emotional outburst 3) a long angry or violent speech! It happens to be my opinion and one that I feel is justified if/when you read Passport rules/regulations/ specifications/instructions/recommendations/ guidelines; whatever you wish to define them as. As this individual choose to ignore them I therefore repeat,; "why should I as a Canadian Taxpayer, pay for someone's stupidity? Time to send a message to those that don't follow them".
    Signed……..A CANADIAN

    • So, you're comfortable with government officials leaving you to rot in foreign countries even though you have all the proper legal documentation and can provide ample evidence of your citizenship? You're comfortable with letting them do so on a whim, because you have a different haircut or aged a bit?

    • I think it is clear that she did not intentionally change her appearance and that probably did not believe her appearance had changed. Indeed, there is no real substantive proof that her appearance was significantly different from the passport photo. True, it is the original rational provided, but given all the crap that followed I am not in a hurry to give it much credence.

    • Don't we all pay for a variety of government's stupid mistakes; many much more monumental than this? Who elected this government anyway?

      • Spoken like a true supporter of an 'Opposition Party' which by the way not all that long ago tried to overthrow *the Canadian Government which was democratically elected by THE PEOPLE*.

  10. TESTING

  11. In at least one report there was an allegation that some corrupt creep in the Kenyan government was the one who was looking for a bribe to let this lady through, and she refused. If true, I admire that honesty. If true, I would therefore expect the Kenyan government was as or more culpable in this sorry story (for engaging a corrupt employee seeking bribes) as Canada (for having an apparently incompetent or mean employee). I would thus find this case more sympathetic if the Government of Kenya were a co-defendant.

  12. In at least one report there was an allegation that some corrupt creep in the Kenyan government was the one who was looking for a bribe to let this lady through, and she refused. If true, I admire that honesty. If true, I would therefore expect the Kenyan government was as or more culpable in this sorry story (for engaging a corrupt employee seeking bribes) as Canada (for having an apparently incompetent or mean employee). I would thus find this case more worthy of support if the Government of Kenya were a co-defendant.

    • There really isn't a WTO of passport offices and high comissions. She would have to lodge two lawsuits, and I doubt she wants to back to Kenya anytime soon to appear in court. It would be fair and nice though to name them.

  13. It is apparent that you and I are not discussing the same issue. IF we were, you would know that this individual was not abanadoned, (or left to rot in a Foreign country, as you so put it). She has been reunited with her family and is back on Canadian soil! Also a bit of research on your part would be beneficial as do you realize even a Driver's License is NOT an acceptable proof of identification in many Foreign Countries. (Let alone Citizenship).

    Plus FTR………. I quote from the Canadian Passport Website ——-

    " Although it is not mandatory, we do recommend that you obtain a new passport if your appearance has changed substantially, even if your passport is valid. The intent of the photo is to accurately identify the person presenting his or her passport to border officials ….etc."

    To me you cannot get any clearer than that! Hope I have clarified a few points for you.

  14. Re the above comment, I was replying to Andrew.
    Signed……A CANADIAN CITIZEN

    • It would be nice if the anonymous commenters would use a more creative name. I'd like to be able to follow the discussion, but when I can't discern one anon from another it makes it difficult.

    • It would be good if you could pen yourself as another personal name, I use that name also at times.

      About 33 million do. Go back to your Alberta ranch.

  15. To the brave, good men and women in Canada's Armed Forces, RCMP and other police forces :

    Very soon, your political masters or superiors may be asking you to do things that you know are wrong and contrary to freedom, such as arresting your fellow citizens if they refuse to take a mandatory vaccination that could kill them.

    You must not obey such orders.

    To find out what is really going on as the New World Order prepares to kill us and our children, visit

    http://www.infowars.com now.

    I have been listening to Alex Jones for many years now, and he is telling the truth.

    Most Canadians are decent people who instinctively know the difference between good and evil, and I can assure you that Harper, Ignatieff and Obama are not on the side of good.

    Remember that you are Canadian citizens first, and soldiers and police officers second, and that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms is always paramount in our country.

    God bless you all.

    • Sweet. God bless you.

      Really? God bless us? First you talk about a "New World Order" – then you reference God.

      Which one is more fake?

  16. So Suaad Hagi Mohamud wants to sue Canada? She retained her Kenyan Citizenship, she kept her Kenyan passport, which was voided by Kenya she wanted the Canadian Gov't to jump to get her "home".
    Well her dual Citizenship says that Kenya is also her home.
    So she can sue the Gov't of Kenya (but she probably knows that she will get a payout in Canada). Too bad for us if the Canadian Gov't does pay her.

    • There is no requirement to relinquish citizenship when you come to Canada. If you want that, lobby your Government. Try actually discussing the law, not the fact that your country works a certain way. That's like complaining about Parlimentary Process.

      I like the pulling out the full name… that's about as Republican as it gets. Barack Hussein Obama II – owes noes!

    • It was her Canadian passport that was refuted by the Canadian high commission. Get your facts straight so you don't embarrass yourself publicaly again.

  17. If this injustice is worth $2.5 million, how much is 5.5 years of much worse abuse by the Province of Ontario and it's affiliates following a pedestrian/motor vehicle accident in which the victim suffered catastrophic injuries? By the way, the victim was born in Ontario and is white. No money requested here, but a full inquiry would be nice.

    • Inquiry sounds good.

      This is a discussion about why you pay for car insurance. The driver's insurance covers that.

      • The insurance doesn't control the police, the doctors, the social workers, the nursing staff, the lawyers, or the PGT. Like I implied earlier, an inquiry would be nice. Each of the aforementioned caused substantially more abuse to this victim than the accident itself.

        • Am I correct in assuming as it occurred 5.5 years ago, it is the same Government that is currently in power? IF so, all the more reason I would definitely attempt to contact an Ombudsman to investigate why there hasn't been? Sincerely wishing you success. Signed……A CANADIAN CITIZEN (AND RESIDENT OF ONTARIO.)

Sign in to comment.