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Harper says Ottawa working hard to get Toronto woman detained in Kenya home

KITCHENER, Ont. - Three months after a Toronto woman was detained inKenya because officials questioned her identity, Prime Minister StephenHarper said Thursday that Ottawa is working hard to bring her home.

KITCHENER, Ont. - Three months after a Toronto woman was detained in Kenya because officials questioned her identity, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Thursday that Ottawa is working hard to bring her home.

Harper said it's not an easy case, but added his government wants to see Suaad Hagi Mohamud return to Canada.

"Our first priority as a government is, obviously, to see her get on a flight back to Canada," he said after an unrelated press conference in Kitchener, Ont.

Harper's words come one day after Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty said federal officials didn't stand up for the 31-year-old woman.

Mohamud's lawyer said Harper's comment is consistent with what authorities have already relayed to him, but is frustrated he hasn't yet been given specific flight details.

"They're not willing to tell me whether they've actually reserved a flight for her," said Raoul Boulakia.

"I'm not likely to find out until tomorrow, but I hope they do get her on a flight tomorrow night - that would be what we've asked for."

Boulakia added the politicians are entitled to their comments, but they've come a little late.

"The really important time to stick up for her was in May, June and July," he said. "Sticking up for her after we've got the DNA test back is a safe battle to pick."

The Somalian-born woman was unable to leave the country after authorities said her lips did not match her four-year-old passport photo.

Canadian consular officials called her an impostor, voided her passport and turned her case over to Kenya for prosecution.

Officials maintained that she was not who she claimed to be, even after Mohamud handed over numerous pieces of identification, offered fingerprints and finally demanded her DNA be tested.

It wasn't until the genetic tests confirmed her identity Monday that the federal government began preparing emergency travel documents that would permit her to return to Toronto and reunite with her 12-year-old son.

 
 
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