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'Jicho pevu' journalist mistaken for a terrorist

By Nyambega Gisesa Updated Friday, October 25th 2013 at 00:00 GMT +3
Chief investigations editor  Mohammed Ali   Photo : Courtesy

An award-winning investigative journalist says he is in trouble because of his name.

Mohammed Ali – known for his explosive exposes on KTN’s investigative TV programme, Jicho Pevu – told The Nairobian he has been mistaken several times for a terrorist because he shares a name with a wanted man.

He said whenever he travels out of the country, he has to be cleared by senior immigration and security officials because of his “status.”

The name Mohammed Ali is listed on the international watchlist as a terrorist.

The famed journalist popularly known as Moha came to know about this when he was arrested and detained for over an hour at an airport in Europe when his name raised a red alert.

“That was the first time I felt really humiliated on international soil,” said Moha.

“The humiliation has never stopped at airports, including here in Kenya.”

Little is known about Mohammed Ali, the terrorist, and it is likely that it is not his real name given that criminals often use aliases. The name is also popular across the world. 

“I believe the terrorist stole my passport details because every detail is the same except the date of birth,” Moha said.

For every person on the watchlists, hundreds of others may get caught simply because they share the same name. People who share names with suspected individuals rarely board a plane without hassle because the watchlist kept by the US government is shared among security agents across the world.

At airports, the likes of Moha are taken to holding facilities, their passports taken and then asked not to use their mobile phones.

One of the most famous cases is that of 13-year-old American boy Mikey Hicks who has to be frisked a lot more than other plane passengers because his name appears on a list that sets off high level security screening.

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