Before Thursday’s judgment in London ordering Mr Gilbert Deya to be extradited to Kenya to face child trafficking charges, the self-styled archbishop maintained his innocence against the charges.
“Listen,” he said. “I will talk to you because I want you to write down these things. The investigation by Scotland Yard has been going on for three years but even now, they and the Kenyan police cannot prove that I bought and sold children.
“If they can prove that I have done so I will go back. But no one has come forward to prove this.”
But immediately after the court ruling, Mr Deya vowed to fight the order to the bitter end. The cleric, who leads a large Pentecostal church in the UK, told the Saturday Nation he had no intention of giving up his fight against extradition proceedings to Kenya.
On Thursday, a UK judge ruled that the controversial pastor be extradited to Kenya to face trial on counts of baby-trafficking.
However, Mr Deya insisted he would not receive a fair trial if he came home.
“Tell me how I am going to survive ( back in Kenya) when they have already made false accusations against me. Look at what the police are doing now (with regard to claims that people have been killed because they are Mungiki supporters). I would not get a fair trial if I returned home. Wouldn’t they kill me?”
Mr Deya and his supporters claim the judgment rejected three strands of their defence argument against extradition.
His lawyer, Mr Ben Cooper, argued that Mr Deya should not be extradited because the UK and Kenya did not have an extradition agreement.
He also claimed that extradition was an abuse of legal process and that a judgment in favour of it would contravene the Convention on Human Rights. But following a two-day hearing in London into an extradition request by the Government, the judge ruled that Mr Deya had a case to answer.
After the court decision, the matter now rests with the Secretary of State for Justice for the final approval.
Judge Caroline Tubbs also threw out all defence objections to the extradition request, noting that no solid evidence had been provided to show that Mr Deya would either not receive a fair trial or be tortured if he returns to Kenya.
Ms Tubbs said most of the defence case relied on media information which was inherently unreliable.
The judge also said that if Mr Deya made controversial comments about Kenya and President Kibaki, “he could expect controversial comments in return.”
Ms Tubbs also said that Kenya had a “robust Press” part of which supported Mr Deya. It was therefore unlikely, she said, that he would be tortured or not receive a fair trial.
The judge also rejected the defence arguments that Mr Deya would be charged with the more serious offence of conspiring to murder a police officer once in Kenya.
“This is a very serious allegation. There must be strong evidence to prove that the Kenyan Government is not acting in good faith and I am not persuaded of that, ” said the court.
Moreover, while acknowledging that prison conditions in Kenya were “poor”, the judge said that Mr Deya was a fit man in his mid 50s and that the likely sentence – if found guilt – would only be a few years.
During the hearing which began on Wednesday, the Government alleged that Mr Deya stole five children in May 1999 and December 2004.
Mr Cooper had said his client was a victim of political vendetta by the Government. Mr Deya, who runs the south-London based Gilbert Deya Ministries, was arrested by the UK authorities following the extradition request last December.
In her submission on behalf of the Government, Adina Ezekiel told the Westminster district court judge that there was sufficient evidence to back their requests.
The so-called “miracle babies” story involving miraculous births by previously barren mothers as a result of prayer was not backed by forensic and DNA evidence, the court was told.
Police allege that the Gilbert Deya Ministries is an international baby-snatching ring. Their investigation centres around the disappearance of babies from Nairobi’s Pumwani Maternity Hospital and is said to involve suspects in the UK, Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda and Kenya.
Mr Deya was granted £50,000 bail pending an expected appeal.