Canadian 'rendered' from Somalia possibly to Ethiopia

I wonder if the Kenyan government is doing this at the behest of US authorities or if it is just part of its co-operation on the war on terror or to win brownie points with Ethiopia. Just as with Arar he should have been deported to Canada.

Canada 'strongly protests' man's deportation to Somalia
Last Updated: Monday, January 22, 2007 | 2:49 PM ET
CBC News
A Canadian who describes himself as a used clothing dealer has been deported from Kenya to Somalia — possibly into the hands of Ethiopian authorities — after fleeing Somalia in the wake of that country's civil war.

Bashir Ahmed Makhtal is originally from the Ogaden region of Ethiopia, an ethnic Somali enclave where his grandfather was a founder of a separatist movement, the Ogaden Liberation Front.

Bashir Ahmed Makhtal was deported from Kenya to Somalia after fleeing Somalia in the wake of a civil war.
(CBC) Ethiopia has a large military presence in Somalia, after providing the muscle that enabled a weak secular government to defeat Islamist forces formerly in control of much of the country.

Makhtal's lawyers and family fear for his safety in Ethiopian hands.

"He's never been part of any kind extremist organization," his wife, Aziza Osman, told CBC News. "He's just a businessman."

Osman, who lives in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, said her husband had travelled between Somalia and Kenya on business four times in the past year.

Because he was travelling on a Canadian passport, the decision to deport him to Somalia rather than Canada amounts to what is called rendition, a tactic famously used by U.S. officials when they grabbed Montreal resident Maher Arar as a terrorism suspect in 2002 and sent him to Syria for interrogation.

A spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade said in Ottawa on Monday that Canada "strongly objects" to Kenya's decision, partly because the department has labelled Somalia too dangerous for travel and has advised all Canadians to leave.

Spokesman Réjean Beaulieu said the matter has been raised "at the highest level" with Kenyan officials in Ottawa and the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. He said he had no information on whether Makhtal has been handed over to the Ethiopians.

CBC Africa correspondent David McGuffin reports from Nairobi that Makhtal was picked up by Kenyan authorities on Dec. 30 as he applied to enter Kenya from Somalia. He was held at the border for three days, then moved to a police station in Nairobi.

On Saturday, he was deported to Somalia along with 29 other people picked up on the Kenyan side of the border. Their exact whereabouts are unknown.

Makhtal's lawyers believe he is in Ethiopian hands and may have been sent to the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. They say he told them that Ethiopian security officers were present as he was interrogated about possible terrorist links.

His relatives, who fear he may be executed, deny strongly that he has any involvement in terrorism or ties to Somalia's short-lived Islamist regime.

"Anything could happen, any minute, any second," a cousin living in Hamilton, Ont., Said Maktal, told the Toronto Star. "You're dealing with a Third World country which does not obey international law. They don't care."

Family fled Ethiopia in the early 1970s
Makhtal's lawyers and relatives provide this background:

The family fled to Somalia in the early 1970s and ultimately to Canada to avoid persecution of ethnic Somalis in Ethiopia.

Makhtal lived in Canada in the 1990s, where he studied computers at the DeVry Institute of Technology, a private trade school, and worked for the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.

He moved back to the Horn of Africa in 2001 to open his clothing business, operating from Dubai, Eritrea, Kenya and Somalia.

He was stuck in Somalia during the fighting in December and January and was trying to leave via Kenya.

In Nairobi, McGuffin reports that Makhtal didn't get access to a lawyer until Jan. 10, during his second week in Kenyan custody, and was denied Canadian consular access five times before a Canadian High Commission official was able to meet him in the week of Jan. 15.

McGuffin spoke to four Kenyan government departments and the office of the president, none of which would comment. It is believed this is the first case of a foreign national in Kenya being deported to a third country, McGuffin says.

The Somali government was also not commenting, he reports, but a Somali journalist told him that Makhtal and others were seen being taken away in an Ethiopian military truck after arriving by plane in the Somali capital, Mogadishu.

Beaulieu, the Foreign Affairs spokesman, said Kenya did not tell Canadian officials that Makhtal was being deported to Somalia.

Canada has no resident diplomatic mission in Somalia, he said, "so you will understand that it limits our capacity to provide consular assistance."


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