Kenyan journalist Collins Juma Osemo aka Yassin Juma is seeking compensation for wrongful detention in Ethiopia.
Yassin was arrested in July after the death of Oromia activist and musician Hachalu Hundessa. He was released 49 days later after contracting the novel COVID-19.
Speaking to the Sunday Nation, the freelance journalist said that he wants the Ethiopian government to apologize for illegally detaining him.
He explained that at the time of arrest, he had been contracted by the British broadcaster Sky News to shoot a documentary under his Horn24 Media Company.
“I was there to do positive stories about Ethiopia when we were arrested as we covered opposition politician Jawar Mohamed’s rally. I was never officially charged throughout the 49 days that I was incarcerated. There were only proposed charges which did not stand in court eventually, ” he said.
Yassin revealed that he only returned to the East African country after an order barring him from entering the country was lifted in August 2019.
He was banned after airing reports of heightened tensions between Kenya and Ethiopia.
For days, Yassin intimated, the Ethiopian authorities did not charge him but still declined to free him.
At some point, the police said his was a case of mistaken identity.
“I shared my cell with all the opposition political leaders who had been rounded up earlier. Most of them are still detained there,” he said.
“I never spoke with my family for all those days I was incarcerated and my lawyer only visited me twice.”
On whether the Kenyan government was there for him during his incarceration, Yassin said that officials from the Kenyan Embassy showed up 19 days later.
“The first time I saw a government official was 19 days after my arrest and I was asked if I needed a lawyer. I told them they were 19 days late,” he said.
He also reiterated that he did not ask to remain in Ethiopia after recovering from the virus.
“I never said those words; all I wanted to do was come straight home.”