Journalist Yassin Juma has refuted reports by the Government of Kenya that he chose to stay in Ethiopia with friends after he was released.
In a Facebook Post, Juma now says that the Federal Government of Ethiopia introduced new rules that could not allow him to fly back, and the Kenyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs was aware.
“The regulations require that I spend 14 days in house isolation and be issued with a Covid-19 status certificate by the federal government upon completion. I was ready with my luggage to fly back home immediately after I left the health facility, only to be informed about this regulation. This was clearly communicated to the Kenya embassy upon my discharge from the health center,” wrote Juma.
Juma was arrested early July by the Ethiopian military while covering protests that erupted in Ethiopia’s Oromia region following the death of musician Hachalu Hundessa.
The musician who was perceived as an activist for the Oromo ethnic group was shot dead while driving in Adis Ababa leading to the unrest that had claimed over 70 lives by the time Juma was arrested.
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.
He was accused of fueling violence following the assassination of the popular musician and activist.
He was also accused of crimes related to subverting authority.