( AFP ) - A preacher who claimed he could help infertile couples conceive through prayer was a step closer Thursday to being extradited to Kenya to face child stealing charges after a London judge rejected his appeal.
Judge Caroline Tubbs said she was not convinced by claims that Gilbert Deya, 55, would suffer in Kenya because of his political views.
"The charges are serious and emotive, concerning, as they do, very young children allegedly removed from their birth parents," she said at the City of Westminster Magistrates' Court.
But she said: "Whilst I accept there may be strong feelings... I find there is nothing put before me... to support the assertion that Mr Deya is likely to be additionally punished by physical violence because of his political views."
The case will now go to Britain's Interior Minister Jacqui Smith, who makes final decisions on extraditions to non-European countries.
The Nairobi government wants Deya sent back from Britain to be tried on five counts of abducting children aged between 12 months and four-and-a-half years.
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 court was told.
Lawyer Adina Ezekiel, for the Kenyan government, told the court last month that Deya claimed in police interviews after his arrest in December 2005 that he was the children's biological father.
Deya ran his Gilbert Deya Ministries operation from Peckham, south London, and said he was consecrated as an archbishop in the United States in 1992.
He is estimated to have up to 34,000 followers in Britain alone and claims to be the fastest growing ministry around the world.
Deya's lawyer claimed during the hearings that the Kenyan government had a vendetta against him because of his high profile and because he had publicly accused them of corruption.
"The Kenyan government has already made clear its willingness to interfere. We submit that if he does go back to Kenya he simply will not survive," said the lawyer, Ben Cooper, last month.