Italian man sues Kenya for deporting him

Kenyan students clear with immigration department on arrival at the Moi International Airport in Mombasa from Sudan in this picture taken on June 28, 2020.

Photo credit: Kevin Odit | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Mr Marchesi has told the court that his human rights and freedoms were violated, infringed and trampled on.
  • The Italian national wants the court to issue orders directing the immigration department to allow him to enter Kenya.

The Immigration Department is on the spot for deporting the Italian President of Agriculture after he came to Kenya as a tourist to deliver crucial medicine to his ailing uncle. who has been sick for the past three years.

Mr Alberto Marchesi came to Kenya on October 29 and, upon landing at Moi International Airport, Mombasa, was arrested, held briefly for interrogation, and deported to Italy.

He had come to deliver medicine to Mr Italo Ceccagnoti, an elderly man who suffered a stroke in 2017, and depends on the drugs to live.

As a consequence of the stroke, Mr Marchesi, who is also the President of Agriculture, says the man underwent an operation.

"Mr Ceccagnoti suffered a stroke and was paralysed, thus I started coming to Kenya on a monthly basis to bring him medicine and take care of him,” said the Italian. 

Following the arbitrary arrest, harassment and unprocedural deportation, Mr Marchesi has sued Kenya for alleged violation of his rights that resulted in his arrest and deportation. The case has been certified as urgent by the court. 

Mr Ceccagnoti, who has several properties in Bamburi, has been residing in Mombasa for close to 25 years. He has bequeathed his wealth worth millions of shillings to Mr Marchesi in a will dated September 30, 2020. 

Mr Marchesi suspects that it is this will that led to his arbitrary arrest and deportation.

He has sued the Immigration officer in charge of Moi International Airport, the Director of Immigration and Registration of Persons, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i and his Tourism counterpart Najib Balala. 

Mr Marchesi has sued the State through the Commission for Human Rights and Justice, which has filed the case at the Mombasa High Court on his behalf. In his supporting affidavit, Mr Marchesi says he has visited the country since 1995 and has never been arrested or engaged in any criminal activity.

“During my many visits and stay in the country, I have not engaged in any unlawful and illegal business. I am a law-abiding visitor and I have not contravened any laws and regulations,'' he says. 

Mr Marchesi explained that upon alighting from the plane, he was held and put in police cells for two hours after his passport and other travel documents were confiscated. 

He was then interrogated on why he had made several trips to and from Kenya. Mr Marchesi explained that he had a sick uncle who needed his attention, care and supply of medicine. 

Placed on watch list

“I was told I would be taken to court but this did not happen. I was moved from one immigration office to another and later taken back to the airport, where I was locked up again in cells and after two hours I was deported," he said.

Upon arrival in Italy, Mr Marchesi says in court documents that he was handed over to the police as though he was a criminal.

He says that he has never been informed the reason for his arbitrary arrest, incarceration and deportation as there has been no formal complaint about him. 

“Actions of omission and commission by the immigration officers at MIA were unlawful, unlawful and derogation of human rights and freedoms as encapsulated in Kenyan laws and other international charters on human rights and freedoms. I have never been charged with any known offence either under the Kenyan or Italian law,” he said. 

Mr Marchesi has told the court that his human rights and freedoms were utterly violated,  infringed and trampled on without being given a chance of being heard before any court of competent jurisdiction.

He now wants the court to issue orders directing the immigration department to allow him to enter the country and be issued with the necessary visa for his entry and stay as a foreigner.
 
The lobby’s executive director Julius Ogogoh has told the court that Mr Marchesi is not a prohibited person and had the right to be allowed to enter and remain in the country as per the visa granted. 

“The petitioner prays for an order directing the respondents by themselves, their agents or anyone acting on their behalf from further violating, intimidating, arresting or causing to be arrested in any manner that may compromise Mr Marchesi’s liberty,” said Mr Ogogoh. 

However, the immigration officer in the investigation and prosecution section, Mr Kipkoech Sang, said Mr Marchesi had been placed on a ''watch list'' pursuant to intelligence reports provided by an informer. 

“Mr Marchesi was flagged for being an undesirable immigrant. Following his failure to answer questions on his activities in the country, he was denied entry into the country,” said Mr Sang. 

The officer further claimed that the foreigner does not hold a resident permit and or work permit allowing him to engage in any business in the country.   

Under Section 33(5) of the Kenya Citizenship and Immigration Act 2011, entry of a prohibited immigrant or undesirable person into the country is unlawful whether or not he or she is in possession of any document allowing him entry or transit through Kenya.

Mr Sang has denied that the foreigner was arrested, intimidated, threatened or deported.

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