'Miracle babies' pastor to be extradited to Kenya

By Jon Douglas
You and Yours, BBC Radio 4

image captionGilbert Deya is wanted on child abduction charges in Kenya

An evangelist who claimed to have created miraculous pregnancies through prayer is to be sent back to Kenya to face child abduction charges.

Gilbert Deya, who has held services in Peckham, south London, has fought a legal battle to stay in the UK since 2007, arguing anything else would breach his human rights.

Now the home secretary Theresa May has decided extradition should go ahead.

The Kenyan government alleges he stole five children between 1999 and 2004.

Concerns were first aired about Mr Deya's conduct on the BBC Radio 4 investigative programme, Face the Facts in 2004.

Infertile or post-menopausal women who attended his church in Peckham, South London were told they would be having "miracle" babies.

But the babies were always "delivered" in backstreet clinics in Nairobi.

The Tottenham MP, David Lammy, had a husband and wife turn up at his constituency surgery who had been through it.

"The couple went to Africa, came back into the country with a child that the authorities found out was not theirs through a DNA test.

"What unravelled was clearly a child trafficking situation, that didn't just involve my constituents, but involved a number of women making their way to Kenya and then arriving back into our country apparently thinking these children were theirs but they clearly were not," he said.

Gilbert Deya was interviewed on Face the Facts in 2004.

When asked how he explained the births of children with DNA different to that of their alleged parents, he said: "The miracle babies which are happening in our ministry are beyond human imagination.

"It is not something I can say I can explain because they are of God and things of God cannot be explained by a human being."

In 2007, the then home secretary, Jacqui Smith decided Mr Deya should be extradited to Kenya.

His appeal against that decision at the High Court failed and he was refused permission to take his case to the House of Lords.

And while the legal wranglings have continued Gilbert Deya has remained in the UK running what appears to be a successful charity, and broadcasting to Africa and Europe on his satellite TV channel, Deya Broadcasting Network.

The latest available accounts for his charity, Gilbert Deya Ministries, date back to 2009 and show an income from voluntary donations of more than £1.2m.

The charity's stated purpose is to "advance the Christian religion". On its website it claims to have 34,000 followers with churches in Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Leicester and London.

Mr Deya's wife, Mary, has already been jailed in Kenya for child abduction.

In a statement the Home Office said: "He has exhausted all avenues of appeal against extradition under the Extradition Act."

You can hear more on You & Yours on BBC Radio 4 from 12:00 Wednesday 21st September 2011 or catch up via BBC iPlayer.

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