After 49-days in what a Kenyan journalist Collins Juma Osemo alias Yassin Juma called “Hell’, the scribe is now demanding an apology and compensation from the Ethiopian government.
Yassin Juma revealed this, in an interview with Sunday Nation, one week after he returned home from Ethiopia.
The Kenyan scribe now tagged as a controversial journalist, Juma, was arrested moments after the assassination of Oromia musician Hachalu Hundessa in July.
Juma, who now wants Ethiopian authorities to explain why he was detained without charges for nearly two months. The authorities had accused Juma of fueling violence following the assassination of the popular musician and activist.
Yassin denied any wrongdoings while insisting that he was in the Ethiopia doing his work as a journalist after being contracted by the British broadcaster Sky News to shoot a documentary under his Horn24 Media Company.
“I was there to do positive stories about Ethiopia when we were arrested as we covered opposition politician Jawar Mohamed’s rally. I was never officially charged throughout the 49 days that I was incarcerated. There were only proposed charges which did not stand in court eventually, ” he said.
Ethiopia, in 2018, had banned Yassin Juma from visiting the country when his TV aired the tension between Kenya and Ethiopian soldiers, a move that the scribe says it was lifted in August last year.
Yassin Juma, says he returned to the Ethiopia again in January this year to cover the Ethiopian Christmas, which is celebrated in January in line with its Orthodox practices.
According to Juma he was categorised as a political detainee and was not allowed to speak to anyone from outside.
“I shared my cell with all the opposition political leaders who had been rounded up earlier. Most of them are still detained there. I never spoke with my family for all those days I was incarcerated and my lawyer only visited me twice.The first time I saw a government official was 19 days after my arrest and I was asked if I needed a lawyer. I told them they were 19 days late,” he said.
“I thought I was a tough fellow because I have been through a lot in Somalia, but detention also detains your mind,” he added.
Juma was re-arrested after he was released on bail and spending 35 days in the cells at Arada Police Station.
3 days later, apart from being accused that he was an international hacker, Juma was told that he was among 68 other detainees who had tested posive for Covid-19.
“When they took me to court, I insisted that we should be tested for Covid-19 because there was no running water, the toilet was dirty and we were using our dirty hands to eat communally. Nothing was done and i was moved to a government facility where i was declared COVID-19 positive.” he noted.
Yassin Juma also denied claims by the Kenyan embassy in Addis Ababa that he had opted to stay in Ethiopia with his friends after the Attorney General’s order that he be freed.
“I never said those words; all I wanted to do was come straight home,” he denied in the interview.
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