COVID-19 Spreads Inside Ethiopian Detention Centers

COVID-19 Spreads Inside Ethiopian Detention Centers

Ethiopia arrested thousands of protesters, opposition members, and journalists during July’s sectarian unrest. Health workers and local officials say some of those detained have contracted COVID-19 and are concerned the virus is spreading in overcrowded prisons and makeshift detention centers. Simon Marks reports from Ziway, Ethiopia.

Tiksa Negeri contributed to this report

Producer: Jason Godman


Yassin Juma freed from Ethiopian police station says Ministry

Yassin Juma

Kenyan journalist Collins Juma Osemo, also known as Yassin Juma who was arrested in Ethiopia has been moved to a government isolation facility.

The Kenyan Embassy in Ethiopia through its twitter handle said that it had managed to assist the journalist after he protested negligence at the Sostegna Police Station where he was being held.

Juma was on Wednesday moved to WOREDA 7 Health Center in Addis Ababa where he will stay in compliance with health guidelines in force.

A consular official at the Kenya Embassy in Addis Ababa paid Juma a visit and reported that he was stable but anxious and looking forward to being back home.

According to a statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it has take several efforts including diplomatic engagements to secure Juma’s release.

“The Ministry has done several correspondences with Ethiopian authorities raising concerns of continued stay in custody despite Juma’s release by the court in Arada Sub-city on the 5th of August, a decision that was also affirmed by the High Court in Lidets on the 7th of August,” the statement read in part.

This move by the Ministry comes days after Juma penned an emotional letter protesting his illegal detention in the neighbouring country.

The journalist’s lawyer Kedir Bullo had confirmed that Juma tested positive for COVID-19 on August 13.

Juma was arrested on July 2 while covering protests that erupted in Ethiopia’s Oromia region following the death of musician Hachalu Hundessa.

Juma is reportedly said to have been arrested because of his close relationship with the controversial musician, one of few people who openly criticized Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government.

Kenya’s MFA had previously expressed disappointment over his detention which it said was regrettable and had caused immense anguish and anxiety to him, his family and the people and Government of Kenya.

“The continued detention of this Kenyan national despite the decision of the court and payment of bail is highly regrettably and has caused immense anguish and anxiety to him, his family, the people and the Government of the Republic of Kenya,” MFA said.