Irony of the week: Norm saves detainee!

Junior Senator intervenes to free obvious, five-year-old terror suspect


class=img_thumbleft>It's no secret that our buddy Norm loves to march lockstep behind--and even out in front of--our president on all things terror related. Coleman has defended prisoner treatment at Gitmo, called for the resignation of Kofi Annan in the oil-for-food scandal, and just generally played the politics of fear in the "War on Terror" about as well as anyone else.

That's why one of three (!) missives from his office caught the eye today: Coleman actually helped someone "suspicious"--at least in the eyes of the Kenyan government--get into the United States. Never mind that the "suspect" was a five-year-old U.S. citizen. Quimby rushed in just in time to save the day. To wit:


Senator obtains assurances from U.S. authorities in Kenya that 5 year old girl and grandmother will be reunited with their family soon in the Twin Cities

ST. PAUL, MN--After being detained for over a week by Kenyan Immigration Authorities who questioned her status as a United States citizen and threatened to deport her to Somalia, five-year-old Fartuun Sheikh will be coming home to her family in St. Paul following the intervention of Senator Norm Coleman's office.

Fartuun, a U.S. citizen born in Buffalo, New York who originally traveled to Kenya to visit relatives with her grandmother in February, was detained at the Kenyan airport last Thursday, September 15th when the pair attempted to return to Minnesota. Kenyan immigration authorities questioned her status as a U.S. citizen based solely on a passport photo taken when she was three years old. After being held for several days at a detention center in the airport, she was moved to a prison in Nairobi.

In the meantime, Fartuun's parents, Naimo Salah and Hussein Sheikh, contacted Fartuun's school, which alerted Senator Coleman's casework staff to the situation on Friday, September 16th. Coleman's staff immediately got involved in the case, meeting with family, sending several letters to the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, making numerous phone calls on behalf of the family and providing further documents to help verify the identity of the child in custody. Following these actions, Senator Coleman personally intervened to speed up the investigation through a phone call to the Embassy and was informed today that Fartuun was released from prison today and will be allowed to return home.

"After so many days of uncertainty and fear for Fartuun's safety, it is wonderful news that she will be returning to her family," said Senator Coleman. "Fartuun and her family have been through an extremely trying ordeal over the past week and I am thankful to have played a role in helping them put this frightening ordeal behind them and getting Fartuun home."

"I am very glad to hear about the release of my daughter and my mother," said Naimo Salah, Fartuun's mother. "My worry is over. I want to thank Senator Coleman and his staff. Fartuun would not be released without the help of the Senator."

Officials at the Embassy plan to meet with Fartuun on Monday. Exact details regarding when Fartuun will return to Minnesota have not been finalized.




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