Pastor faces extradition hearing

From: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7071319.stm

Oct 31, 2007

An extradition hearing has begun for a preacher who claimed he could create "miracle babies" for infertile couples, using the power of prayer.

The Kenyan government alleges Gilbert Deya stole five children between May 1999 and December 2004 and tried to pass them off as his own.

Westminster Magistrates Court heard Mr Deya is also accused of conspiracy to murder a police officer in Kenya.

Mr Deya's lawyers said their client was the victim of a political vendetta.

On the opening day of his extradition hearing Mr Deya's lawyer, Ben Cooper, told the court the circumstances surrounding his client's extradition were highly suspect.

Mr Cooper questioned why the Kenyan authorities chose not to use the conspiracy to commit murder charge as the basis for the request.

He also said his client was a target of the Kenyan government.

"The government has made clear its intention to punish Mr Deya for his political opinion and outspoken criticism of the government," Mr Cooper told the court.

Parental claims

In her submission on behalf of the government of Kenya, Adina Ezekiel told district court judge Caroline Tubbs there was sufficient evidence to back the requests.

Ms Ezekiel said there was evidence of forged birth certificates and proof the children in question were not born by Mr Deya's wife, as he claimed.

Mr Deya, the head of Gilbert Deya Ministries, told police he was the father of all five children named in court as Miriam, Naomi, Elijah, Ruth and Joshua.

The children range in age from one to four years and have all been taken into care in Kenya.

Kenyan police allege the Gilbert Deya Ministries is an international baby-snatching ring and last year asked the UK government to extradite Mr Deya.

They say their investigation revolves around the disappearance of babies from Nairobi's Pumwani Maternity Hospital and involves suspects in Britain, Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda and Kenya.

The hearing is expected to conclude on Thursday.