Detained journalist Yassin Juma is in good health – GoK
The Kenyan Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia has confirmed that Kenyan journalist Yassin Juma is being detained at the Sostegna Police Station.
Juma was apprehended by Ethiopia’s military on Friday, July 3, while covering massive protests that erupted in Ethiopia’s Oromia Region, following the death of musician Hachalu Hundessa.
Hundessa who was perceived as an activist for the Oromo ethnic group was shot dead while driving in Addis Ababa on June 29,2020, leading to the unrest that has so far claimed close to 239 lives and left 3,500 incarcerated.
In a statement dated Friday, July 31, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that it sent a consular officer from the Kenyan Embassy in Addis Ababa to visit Juma.
The statement added that Kenya has been following the case since Juma’s arrest in early July.
‘’On Monday 20th July 2020, a consular officer at the Kenya Embassy in Addis Ababa Ethiopia visited COLLINS JUMA OSEMO alias YASSIN JUMA, the Kenyan journalist at the SOSTEGNA Police Station in Addis Ababa.’’ Read the statement from the ministry of foreign Affairs.
”YASSIN Juma expressed gratitude at the visitation and appeared to be in good health. He has a lawyer Mr. TULI BAYISSA, and has expressed confidence on him.”
The statement added that Juma was presented to the court on July 28, 2020; however, it did not mention the charges against him.
But according to Juma’s lawyer, the charges he was facing were incitement and involvement in violence, plotting to create ethnic violence and plotting to kill senior Ethiopian officials.
Juma is famous for covering the plight of the Oromo Liberation Front, a rebel group that fought a low-level insurgency in southern Ethiopia for more than 30 years.
In 2009, his NTV documentary on the rebel group brought tensions between Ethiopia and Kenya.
Following the documentary, Juma was banned from stepping in Ethiopia.
However, the Ethiopian government granted him clemency later on and for 10 years he lived and worked in Ethiopia.
During his stay in Ethiopia, activist Jawar Mohamed reportedly allowed him to propel his media house as an experienced independent journalist in Addis Ababa.
Sources in Ethiopia indicate that Juma was arrested for his close relationship with Jawar.
Jawar, an Oromo, is reported to be one of the fiercest critics of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government.
Juma was reportedly apprehended at the activist’s home.
Jawar is also in police custody and privately owned Addis Standard reported that he informed the court he was being held at a basement in an unmarked building.
Both Mr Abiy and Mr Jawar hail from Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group, the Oromo. They had never held the country’s top post until they helped bring Mr Abiy to power.
The 34-year-old supported him Abiy, especially after he embarked on a series of reforms that saw the unbanning of opposition groups, the release of thousands of political prisoners, and the dropping of terrorism-related charges against exiles.
After Mr Abiy’s win, Mr Jawar returned home and started OMN headquartered in Addis Ababa as the voice of the “Qeerroo”.
However, the two differed sharply over the future direction of Ethiopia under Mr Abiy.