Detained Kenyan journalist to be arraigned in Court as questions emerge over his work in Ethiopia

Investigations by Horn of Africa Tv can reveal that Kenyan journalist and blogger Yassin Juma who is detained in Ethiopia was not accredited to work as a journalist in the country. 

Documents seen by our team show that Juma, whose real name is Collins Osemo, was not licensed by Ethiopia Broadcasting Authority which accredits foreign correspondents to live and work in the country. 

“We have checked all our records and we do not have anyone accredited as a foreign correspondent under both names. We are very sure of this.” an official told us. 

The controversial journalist is set to be arraigned in court Saturday July 18. This is according to a letter that he managed to smuggle out of the detention center where he is being held.

In the 3 paged note, Juma claimed he was being detained together with another journalist from the Oromia Media Network since July 2

He says they have been denied access to legal representation, family visits and consular visits.

“We intend to go on a hunger strike if the above three will continue to be denied to us. “the note says.

Juma’s wife Asha Mohammed confirmed to our reporter that the handwriting and the signature in the notes were from the journalist

“It’s Yassin…I am sure. I have seen the same letter and it’s his handwriting and his signature” she said.  

Last week, his family made a passionate appeal to Ethiopian authorities to release him.

It’s not clear who Juma was working for in Ethiopia but local media reports say he was arrested at the home of opposition leader Jawar Mohammed, a vocal critic of Ethiopian Prime minister Abiy Ahmed.

He’s constantly however been associated with Jawar’s Oromia Media Network. It remains unclear what his role was in the organisation.

The revelations by Ethiopian authorities that he wasn’t accredited to work as journalist will no doubt complicate his case as the country has a strict regulation on media accreditation.

In his letter smuggled from prison, Juma claims to have been arrested while conducting interviews from Human Rights Watch at the residence of Jawar Mohammed.

He claims to have arrived in the country in January this year, for a “SkyNews Special Report”

So far none of the organisations have confirmed or denied the claims in the letter.

The blogger, is no stranger to controversy, in 2009, he rattled the Ethiopian government after interviewing members of the then outlawed Oromo Liberation Front. The documentary led to tensions between Kenya and Ethiopia.

In 2016, he was arrested by Kenyan security forces after he was accussed of publishing classified and sensitive information about the attack on Kenyan soldiers in El Adde, Somalia.

Juma was among at least 5,000 people who were arrested following protests that erupted in the capital Addis Ababa and parts of Oromia region after the gunning down of popular musician Hachalu Hundessa on July 1

More than 250 people are believed to have died in the violence.

Hachalu, who hails from the Oromo community, had emerged as the voice of the Oromo community and their struggle against political and economic marginalisation