| Issue 373
and Regional Affairs |
Washington, DC, March 19, 2009 - After living in
the U.S. for 16 years and migrating from a country that was recently
categorized to top the most dangerous countries in the world - even more
dangerous than Iraq and Afghanistan - Muna Absiya would still have to be
deported to Somalia despite evidences showing apparent prosecutions.
Ms. Absiya arrived in Los Angles, California in November 1993 at the age
of six and with her family as refugees. Soon, the family moved to
Seattle, Washington where they would readjust and establish life in the
new country. But as immigrants know from experiences, challenges in the
new country are often more insurmountable than those at home.
The painful trauma of war in Somalia as a backdrop, her older sister’s
death, Safiya; and that of her father passing away in 2002 implicated
Ms. Absiye’s mental equilibrium, clearing the way for minor infractions
that would play out into the grounds for a deportation after losing her
immigration status in April 2007.
Her family, [mother name], had done everything to rehab the 23-year old
until she fully recovered. With the existing deportation order from an
immigration judge, Ms. Absiya has been out for Supervised Release
Program that required her to report to a deportation officer, as a
routine monitoring for twice a month.
On Thursday February 26, as part of undergoing her scheduled interviews
with SRP, the deportation officer requested her to come back in five
days, for another appointment before the regular dates, which precisely
was the Monday of March 2nd, and surely incognizant of what awaits her
Farhia Absiya, an older sister, works for the Voice of America as a
journalist. She recalls talking to her sister in the morning before she
embarked to the immigration. “I told her to take a Cab and to call me
when she is done,” Farhia says as last word before parting her sister.
“She called me at 6pm in that Monday evening; crying and told me she is
being deported to Somalia right now.”
In a letter obtained by HOL, dated March 3rd, from Ms. Absiya’s
attorney, through family, states that she could face death in deporting
her to Somalia. “We were shocked, because Ms. Absiya had informed her
deportation officer that she feared torture and or murder if she were
returned to Somalia at this time.”
It added that under the Geneva agreements of U.N. Convention Against
Torture, in which the U.S. is a signatory to it, no one “should be
returned to a country where he/she would face imminent torture.”
However, her saga did not end with the deportation. Ms. Absiya was
initially landed in Kenya to transfer her onto flights bound to
Mogadishu, according to her attorney.
“The airline staff at the airport were so concerned about this young
woman’s life that they decided not to let her off in Mogadishu,”
attorney details her ordeal, as she spent a whole week with swirling
flights between four Airports everyday, from Nairobi to Mogadishu and to
Hargeysa and Djibouti and back to Nairobi where each airport had to
detain her temporarily until next flights –presumably to nowhere-
without granting her an official entry to the country.
Like other families whose members face similar trials, Farhia asks
questions that probe for humane answers, fearing for her sister’s fate,
which, according to her, could be dumped out any day from the detentions
of Djibouti and Kenya to the detriment that lay in Somalia.
“Why would the United States of America, the so called Human Rights
leader, put a young westernized woman’s life at risk and try to deliver
her to Al-Shabaab, wearing prohibited attire like pants and shirt with
no headscarf? Why?” asks Farhia, whose fury was perplexed by the lack of
response from authority to address the safety concerns they harbor in
which her sister was consequently exposed to by deportation.
“My sister is endangered when they throw her away like that. She speaks
no Somali, and knows nothing about the culture there.”