Kenyan journalist Yassin Juma has been released from an Ethiopian police cell 50 days after he was detained.
A statement from the Foreign Affairs Ministry said Juma is now in isolation at a state-run facility as he had tested positive for coronavirus.
“Kenya Embassy in Ethiopia has managed to assist Collins Juma Osemo alias Yassin Juma, Kenyan journalist arrested in Ethiopia, to move to government manage isolation facility after he tested positive to COVID-19 at Sostegna police station where he was held until yesterday (Wednesday),” the ministry said on Twitter.
His release comes two days after an order from the Ethiopian Attorney General who said the journalist was detained wrongfully because of language barrier.
Juma’s lawyer Abdulletif Amee however questioned the reason the State gave for the wrongful detention.
Juma had also written a letter to the Daily Nation newspaper expressing fears over his deteriorating health after he tested positive for COVID-19.
“The Kenyan government, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has failed to secure my freedom even after two courts (Lower and High Court) released me last Monday,” Juma said.
Below are more excerpts from the letter that was published by the local daily on August 18:
“Kindly pass my greetings and love to my children, my grandson and all those supporting me through the #freeYassinJuma online campaign. I can’t thank them enough. Remember me in your prayers as I fight coronavirus and injustice.
“I was literally kidnapped by six armed men in civilian clothes, a minute after I was released on bail at Arada Police Station. I was beaten and forced into a minibus together with three others who had been freed too. We were taken around Addis and later dropped at Arada Police and informed we had been re-arrested, this time not by the Federal Police, but by Addis Ababa Police.
“It is a game they play to have us incarcerated for long after the law courts freed us. The investigators’ trick is to keep on asking the judge to be given more time. But holding me for 47 days without charging me is against my human rights. Denying me a chance to communicate with my family in the last 47 days is also against my human rights.
“All I am asking the Ethiopian government is to either charge me or set me free. They have failed to bring evidence in court to charge me.”