Ethiopian Attorney General has ordered the immediate release of Journalists Yassin Juma, who has been unlawfully detained in prison for the last 47 days, citing wrongful arrest.
Yassin Juma, who is battling Covid-19, was arrested in the aftermath of the assassination of Oromia musician Hachalu Hundessa and is yet to be charged.
In a letter published by the Daily Nation on Tuesday, Yassin Juma called for the Kenyan authorities to intervene and secure his release, saying he was sick and suffering in a crowded prison, and was afraid he might not make it alive.
“It is my 47th day in detention at Aradar detention cell. It is also my 7th day since I was diagnosed with Covid-19. I am currently being held at block (W) with 68 other Covid-19 positive inmates with no access to medication in overcrowded cells, no running water and no diet to assist us with our condition.
….My health is failing with each passing day, and I am not sure if I will make it. It is 50-50 with coronavirus but the conditions in detention make my survival chances less,” Yassin Juma said.
The journalist further claimed that even after two courts (Lower and High Court) released him last week on Monday, the Kenyan government, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, had failed to secure his freedom.
“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,” he said.
His lawyer Abdulletif Amee confirmed that the Ethiopian Attorney General has ordered the immediate release of Yassin Juma, even as Kenyans continue to call for his release on social media under the hashtag #FreeYassinJuma.
Ethiopian Singer Hachalu Hundessa Shot Dead
Popular Oromo resistance singer, Hachalu Hundessa, was shot dead on 29 June 2020 at the Gelan Condominiums area in Addis Abab. His death sparked days of unrest in the country that left at least 80 people dead.
Hachalu Hundessa was considered a voice for Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group, the Oromo, during years of anti-government protest. He provided the soundtrack for that Oromo-led anti-government protest movement.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who is also an Oromo, in a televised speech a day after Hachalu was killed, said that “internal and external forces” were responsible for the murder.
The Ethiopian government reportedly shut down the internet when the protests against Hundessa’s, a move that has been condemned by Amnesty International, saying “it made it difficult to verify reports of people killed in the ongoing protests. ”
According to political analysts, the killing of Hachalu and the scores of protest deaths reported in the Oromia Region aggravates an already tense political climate.