On 9 February, Andargachew “Andy” Tsege, a British national and Islington resident, will be spending a third birthday in illegal detention in Ethiopia. He will be 62. On that day we will be remembering him with a candlelit vigil outside Downing Street and will be asking Prime Minister Theresa May to seek his release and return to the UK.
Andy, a father of three, has been a vocal critic of the Ethiopian government. In June 2014, in Sana’a international airport, he was kidnapped
by Ethiopian authorities and illegally rendered to Ethiopia. He is held under an unlawful death sentence, imposed in absentia while he was at home in Islington.
The Ethiopian Government has said on several occasions that there is “no appeal process” available to him and that it is “not possible” for him to challenge his death sentence. Since his abduction, Andy has not been charged with any crime or provided with the legal basis for his detention. He has been denied access to a lawyer and to his family in the UK, and has not been presented before any court or judicial authority.
Ministers have said that the British Government “takes the detention and welfare of Mr Andargachew Tsege very seriously”, but to date, has been pursuing only limited demands – which have largely been ignored by the Ethiopian government – for proper consular access, “due process” for Andy in Ethiopia, and assurances that his death sentence will not be carried out. At a Westminster Hall debate on 20 December 2016, many MPs expressed their concern on the way the FCO has been handling the case and have urged it to negotiate Andy’s release. You can watch the debate on here.
Please join us at the vigil outside Downing Street on 9 February between 4pm and 6pm. We will demand Andy’s return to his family.