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Kenyan Journalist Yassin Juma Deserted in Ethiopia

The controversial Kenyan journalist Yassin Juma yesterday made his third appearance in an Ethiopian court alongside four other suspects who were arrested in early July.

Even though the Kenyan scribe Yasin Juma has not faced any charges yet, has been deserted and left to rot in Ethiopian cells. A lawyer representing the other suspects, Abdullatiff Amin, said Juma still doesn’t have a lawyer and no one from the Kenyan Embassy was at the Addis court on Tuesday.


Kenyan journalist Yassin Juma arrested in Ethiopia -

Kenyan journalist Yassin Juma detained in Ethiopia (Photo|courtesy)

While defending himself before the court, Juma said he was in Ethiopia legally pursuing an online course. Yasin Juma, just like several opposition politicians in Ethiopia, is set to be charged with incitement and involvement in violence, plotting to create ethnic violence and plotting to kill senior Ethiopian officials.

The controversial scribe had been charged alongside other four suspects amongst them an Ethiopian journalist following the killing of Oromo musician Hachalu Hundessa.

The country’s return to normalcy is welcome news, but the devastating episode of violence that claimed more than 200 lives left permanent marks on Ethiopia’s national psyche and clearly demonstrated that the nation’s ethnic faultlines have not been fully mended.

During the violence, scores of innocent Ethiopians were murdered for the sole “crime” of belonging to a certain ethnic group, mostly Amhara. Homes, businesses and vehicles belonging to Ethiopians from various ethnic and religious backgrounds were destroyed.

In Shashemene, a diverse and beautiful town located at the heart of the Oromia region, even school buildings were burned to the ground.

Since his rise to power in 2018, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has sought to promote reconciliation, national unity, solidarity and social justice in Ethiopia.

The question now facing Ethiopia is whether this most recent recurrence of ethnic violence is going to hinder the country’s long-awaited transition to democratic governance.

Yasin Juma


Juma was arrested inside the house of an opposition politician. According to lawyer Abdullatiff Amin, the Federal government of Ethiopia nabbed Juma against the set legal grounds to arrest anyone.

According to the lawyer, Yassin Juma has no legal representation, leaving him in a perilous position as he tries to fight the charges amid a language barrier.

Addis Ababa police commissioner has blocked Juma’s relatives from visiting him in the police cell despite the fact that the court had ordered the police to allow visitors to see the scribe.

While it still remains the responsibility of the Kenyan government to assist Mr Juma with legal representation, the Ethiopian court issued a fresh order to police to not only allow his visitors through but also get him an official translator until he gets legal representation.

He will appear in court again on August 5, 2020, in a case that only State media is allowed to cover court sessions.

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