31 August 2020 – Ottawa – A Canadian citizen was refused to board an aircraft bound for Canada from Frankfurt, Germany on Saturday without explanation, according to the passenger.
Hassan Ali Ospito, a Somali-Canadian businessman, based in Nairobi, told reporters by telephone that he left Nairobi on Friday to travel to his home in Toronto. While attempting to board the 10:45 Air Canada flight from Frankfurt, he was informed by German authorities that he was not cleared to fly home.
The flight agents called Canadian Border Security Agency (CBSA) who relayed a series of strange questions to Mr Ali.
“They asked me if I was carrying any weapons, if I was travelling alone, if I had a valid Somali passport, and which plane I was travelling on in 2016. I found the line of questioning very odd.”
The CBSA relayed to the Air Canada staff that Mr Ali was not allowed to board the flight, and refused to explain why he was not allowed to travel back to his own country. Furthermore, he was told by German immigration that because of the ongoing pandemic, he was not able to leave the airport.
Ali said that he was not asked about any questions surrounding COVID-19, so he can only assume that the decision was racially based.
Ali, a resident of Etobicoke, works as a construction project manager in Nairobi. He said that he had not been back to Canada since 2012.
He added that in those eight years, he’s mostly been in Nairobi except for 2 business trips to Mogadishu, two business trips to Dubai and a leisure trip to Casablanca.
This is not the first time that a Somali-Canadian, travelling from Nairobi to Canada was refused entry. In 2009, Suad Hagi Mohamud was accused of being an impostor as she tried to board an aircraft back to Canada. Canadian officials cancelled her passport, agreeing that she was an impostor. She was arrested and held in a Nairobi jail before the ordeal was sorted out. Ms Hagi successfully sued the Canadian government for her treatment upon her return to Toronto.