, LONDON, Sep 21 – A preacher who claimed he could help infertile couples conceive “miracle babies” through prayer is to be extradited to Kenya to face child abduction charges, the British government said on Wednesday.
Gilbert Deya had fought a four-year legal battle arguing that it would breach his human rights to send him back to his home country, where he faces trial for allegedly stealing five children between 1999 and 2004.
Interior minister Theresa May, who has the final say on all extradition issues in Britain, ordered on Tuesday that he be returned to Kenyan authorities after he exhausted all his avenues of appeal.
“On Tuesday 13 September the Secretary of State decided that Mr Deya’s extradition should proceed,” the Home Office said in a statement.
“Mr Deya’s extradition was ordered in December 2007. He has exhausted all avenues of appeal against extradition under the Extradition Act.”
Deya runs his Gilbert Deya Ministries operation from Peckham, south London, and says he was consecrated as an archbishop in the United States in 1992.
The children were allegedly harboured by Deya and his wife Mary between May 1999 and August 2004 after being taken from their parents without consent.
The allegations first emerged in a BBC report in 2004 which said that infertile or post-menopausal women who attended his church were told they would be having “miracle” babies.
The babies were always ‘delivered’ in backstreet clinics in Nairobi and in at least one case DNA tests showed the baby did not belong to the couple involved.
Deya claimed he faced torture and inhuman and degrading treatment if sent back to Kenya. A British court originally approved his extradition in 2007 and he then fought the decision through higher courts.
His church’s website says it has a membership of more than 34,000 in Britain and claims to be the fastest-growing ministry in the world.