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Canadian lawyer and Kenyan opposition politician Miguna Miguna, centre, raises his fist to the crowd beside opposition leader Raila Odinga, centre-right, during the January, 2018, ceremony at which Odinga declared himself the 'people's president.'

Ben Curtis, File/AP Photo

A Canadian lawyer who says he was forced out of Kenya after overseeing a ceremony that declared the opposition leader "the people's president" says Canadian government officials failed him during the ordeal.

Miguna Miguna spoke to The Globe and Mail from his home in Richmond Hill, Ont., on Thursday, one day after he landed at Toronto's Pearson Airport. He said Kenyan officials forced him onto a flight to Canada on Tuesday night after detaining him for almost a week, during which time Canadian officials failed to provide him consular assistance.

"They [Canadian officials] have not spoken with me," Mr. Miguna, 55, said. "It's a big failure because they needed to scream, they needed to make noise. They needed to do something drastic and they never did."

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He said his wife, Jane, kept Canadian officials "fully abreast" of the situation, but they did not share any information with her.

A senior Canadian government official who spoke on condition of anonymity said authorities were in touch with Mr. Miguna's family, but hit roadblocks when the Kenyan authorities would not tell them where he was being held. The official said the government considers Mr. Miguna's case high-profile, given its political nature.

In a statement on Wednesday, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said Canada is "deeply concerned" by the Kenyan government's "unlawful" detention of opposition supporters and the shutdown of some media outlets.

"We urge the government of Kenya to uphold its constitution, to allow freedom of expression and to respect court orders, including those that order the release of those granted bail," Ms. Freeland said.

Mr. Miguna said he was "abducted" in Nairobi last Friday after 34 men raided his house early that morning.

"I suspected they could be assassins because they did not say, 'Police,' " Mr. Miguna said. "They were hooded. Some of them had dreadlocks, some of them had beards. They were dressed like thugs. So I was frightened."

The raid happened three days after he participated in the swearing-in ceremony of opposition leader and former prime minister Raila Odinga.

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Mr. Odinga has said he was the rightful winner of last year's election, but Kenyan authorities said President Uhuru Kenyatta won the August vote. The Supreme Court threw out the result and ordered another election in October, which Mr. Odinga boycotted. Mr. Kenyatta won again.

Last week, Mr. Odinga inaugurated himself as "the people's president."

Mr. Miguna said it took the men more than an hour to find him in his large Nairobi home, where he was living alone. He said he was then taken to a police station and held in a cell for the day, before being transferred to another police station with poorer conditions.

"They kept me in a filthy corridor next to a toilet … Cold floor. No chairs. No access to lawyers. Nobody knew where I was."

He was there until Monday, he said, at which point he started to feel sick. Global Affairs Canada said consular officials tried to visit him, but were denied access. Spokesperson John Babcock said Canada immediately sent a note to the Kenyan foreign ministry asking for consular access to Mr. Miguna, but it was not granted.

Mr. Miguna appeared in a court outside Nairobi on Tuesday, where he was charged with treason for attending the inauguration of Mr. Odinga. He refused to enter a plea, arguing that he should face any charges inside the capital.

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He said Kenyan authorities then took him to the airport and forced him onto a midnight flight. He had no money and was wearing only slippers on his feet. He had both of his passports with him at the airport, but said authorities confiscated his Kenyan passport before he boarded.

The Kenyan government said it deported Mr. Miguna as a "prohibited immigrant" who was given his Kenyan passport illegally.

It is unclear if Mr. Miguna, who was born in Kenya, is still a citizen of that country. Kenya did not recognize dual citizenship before 2010, meaning anyone who obtained a second citizenship before then lost their Kenyan citizenship. Mr. Miguna fled to Canada as a political refugee in 1988 and became a Canadian before 2010.

Mr. Miguna still considers himself a dual citizen. He has run in several Kenyan elections – something only citizens are allowed to do. He ran for governor of Nairobi region last year and finished fourth, far behind the front-runners.

A crowd of supporters met him at the arrival gate in Toronto on Wednesday. He said he had his first shower in a week at his Richmond Hill home. Mr. Miguna said he will return to Kenya if he can get his passport back.

The government of Kenya, one of Africa's most vibrant democracies for most of the past 15 years, has begun to lurch toward authoritarianism. In addition to the shutdown of television stations and the arrest of opposition members, the Kenyatta government has allowed the police to run rampant over political protesters. In the weeks after the August election, 23 people were shot or beaten to death by Kenyan police, according to a study by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.

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With a report from Reuters

Kenyan lawyer Miguna Miguna is arrested for taking part in opposition leader Raila Odinga's 'swearing in' ceremony. Reuters
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