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Yassin Juma Tests Positive For COVID-19 in Ethiopian Cell

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UPDATE Thursday August 27: Journalist Yassin Juma discharged from isolation after being cured of COVID-19; Kenyans officials reveal however that he has decided to remain in Ethiopia with friends.

UPDATE Thursday August 20: Kenyan journalist Collins Juma Osemo alias Yassin Juma has been freed in Ethiopia following the intervention by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the embassy in Addis Ababa.

The Foreign Office said the journalist who had been incarcerated despite two court orders directing his release has been transferred to a COVID-19 isolation facility having contracted the virus while in police custody.

Juma was finally moved from Sostegna police station where he was held despite his release on bail by the Ethiopian judicial authorities on August 5.

“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,” the ministry said through Twitter.

Kenyan journalist Yassin Juma who was still detained in Ethiopia despite a court granting him bail last week had on Thursday August 13 tested positive for COVID-19.

His lawyer, Kefir Bullo confirmed the latest development and disclosed that Juma contracted the disease at Sostegna Police Station where he is being held.

The former NTV reporter was arrested in July along with two Ethiopian journalists and charged with inciting ethnic violence and plotting to kill senior Ethiopian officials, which they strongly deny.

File image of Kenyan journalist Yassin Juma. Source: Citizen Digital

Oromo singer Hachalu Hundessa, known for his political and activist songs, was gunned down in Addis Ababa in July, sparking widespread ethnic tensions.

Reports indicate that Juma was arrested because of his close relationship with the controversial musician, one of few people who have openly criticised Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government.

Juma is also said to enjoy a cordial relationship with Oromo activist Jawar Mohammed, who owns a media house where the journalist works.

Ethiopian police arrested the journalists along with opposition members and leader Jawar Mohammed at his home.

Police accused them of working together and charged them with inciting ethnic violence and plotting to kill Ethiopian officials.

Kenyan journalist Yassin Juma and his lawyer. Source: KahawaTungu

Last week, a court granted him bail according to Juma’s lawyers but he is yet to be released.

His lawyer revealed the judge told him police are refusing to let Juma go.

Foreign Correspondents Association of East Africa, which represents about 450 international journalists in the region, on Monday August 10 called for Juma’s immediate release.

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