Kin of Kenyan jailed in Ethiopia appeal for help

Kin of Kenyan jailed in Ethiopia appeal for help

Family of a Kenyans who was arrested and imprisoned in Ethiopia over allegations of  telecommunications fraud is appealing for help from the government to bring their loved ones home.

Maxwel Omondi Otieno, aged 32, is among several Kenyans arrested while working in Ethiopia and jailed over claims of interfering with telecommunication facilities and has been languishing in jail since 2014.

He travelled to Ethiopia after he landed a job with an IT firm in 2014 and everything went smoothly until four months later when Ethiopian authorities arrested him, claiming the company he worked for was operating illegally.

Maxwell’s mother, Betha Aruwa Ogosi, told Citizen Digital that the only mistake her son did was not knowing the company operated illegally.

“We lost touch with Maxwell for six months. Then one day we got a call from officers from the International Red Cross who visited the prison in Ethiopia and asked those who were locked up without the knowledge of their families,” said Betha.

Already, Maxwel has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

“As we speak now we need Ksh1.6 million to settle the lawyers that have been handling Maxwel’s case and to pay for the fine by the court for being ignorant of the activities of the company he was working,” adds Maxwel’s sister Lilian.

Maxwel is among five Kenyans arrested in Ethiopia after travelling to the country for work.

One of them, Zack Muriuki, moved to Ethiopia on January 9, 2015 after his company assigned him to a client but came back to Kenya in a coffin.

Kenyans have expressed concern and indignation over the death of Zack, pointing an accusing finger at the Kenyan government for allegedly doing little to save the situation.

But for now, Maxwel’s family’s only hope is that justice will prevail and their loved one set free.

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Story By Gentrix Oduor
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