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Detained woman returns sick

Suaad Hagi Mohamud underwent hospital tests yesterday for an illness nagging her since an unjust stint in a Kenyan jail.

Suaad Hagi Mohamud underwent hospital tests yesterday for an illness nagging her since an unjust stint in a Kenyan jail.

“She’s really sick,” her lawyer Raoul Boulakia said of the woman who arrived home to a hero’s welcome Saturday after spending three months trying to prove her identity to Canadian authorities in Africa and Ottawa.

Mohamud has been losing weight and suffering respiratory problems since her eight-day incarceration June 3-11 at Nairobi’s Langata Women’s Prison, Boulakia said.

Chest X-rays ruled out tuberculosis and if she had pneumonia at some point during her extreme bureaucratic ordeal she no longer does, the lawyer said.

“She has a persistent cough which remains undiagnosed,” he said. “She had fevers in Kenya, so she will also be tested for malaria. She currently suffers from loss of appetite.”

Doctors were also exploring whether she might have caught some kind of infectious tropical disease, Boulakia said, which might be difficult to diagnose and treat. More tests are to be conducted today.

Kenya’s jails are notoriously unhealthy. “Hundreds of prisoners died annually from infectious diseases spread by overcrowding, unhygienic conditions and inadequate medical treatment,” says a 2007 Legal Resource Foundation report on Kenyan prisons, quoted last year in a U.S. Department of State paper.

At the Canadian high commission in Nairobi, her lawyer said, consular officers knew Mohamud was sick. They saw her repeatedly for such procedures as fingerprinting, DNA testing and various other formalities.

Asked about a possible lawsuit against Canada, Boulakia said his priority now is Mohamud’s health.

 
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