August 23, 2019

Sanjah Shah, the “stateless” Kenyan detained at JKIA for 13 months

Sanjay Shah, he was detained at JKIA for 13 months before he was finally released. [courtesy]

Miguna Miguna, the fiery NASA activist is not the only Kenyan to have been detained at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) over citizenship issues.

It has emerged that another Kenyan; Sanjah Shah spent 13 months locked up at the airport over a period he was rendered stateless according to Nairobi News.

Shah had travelled to the UK in May 2005 to visit his sister on a UK overseas citizen passport.

He was however, considered to be a British citizen by virtue that he had given up his Kenyan citizenship for British citizenship. Dual citizenship was not allowed back then.

In 2003, he was granted the legal right by the Kenyan government to apply and become a full British citizen meaning he had to give up his Kenyan citizenship despite the fact he was born in Kenya in 1962.

He did this and travelled to UK but, upon landing at Heathrow Airport, immigration officials got suspicious of his one-way air ticket and was denied entry to the country.

Instead, he was flown back to Kenya with a stamp tag “prohibited immigrant” on his passport and in his home country too, he was denied entry and put to detention.

He had surrendered his Kenyan passport in an attempt to gain entry to the UK meaning his right of automatic entry to Kenya was gone too.

He was forced to remain at JKIA in detention as the UK processed his application for citizenship.

His wife Rasmita Shah and son Veer Shah would visit him and bring him food and clothes.

After a while, the then Vice-President Moody Awori said there was nothing that could be done about his citizenship situation forcing him to stay longer at JKIA.

But after a while, both Kenyan officials and officials from the British High Commission in Kenya allowed him to go back to his family in Kenya while his British Citizenship was being processed.

But he opted to remain in detention for fear that once he walked out, his application for British Citizenship would fizzle out and never get a chance to travel to the UK since he had already given up his Kenyan citizenship.

But after a long wait of 13 months, the UK finally processed his citizenship application and he flew to Britain.

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