The family of Andargachew Tsige, a leading member of an Ethiopian opposition group, who is held incommunicado for 20 months in Ethiopia, has submitted a petition signed by close to 130,000 people to 10 Downing Street, the office of the British Prime Minister, demanding the government of UK to secure his release.
“A British man who was kidnapped and rendered to Ethiopia will this Saturday mark 600 days of illegal detention,” Reprieve, an organization campaigning on behalf of the family said today, on the day of Andy’s 61st birthday.
“Andargachew ‘Andy’ Tsege, a father of three from London who turns 61 today, has been held by Ethiopian security forces since his disappearance on 23rd June 2014, when he was forcibly taken from an airport in Yemen to Ethiopia. Mr. Tsege is a prominent member of the Ethiopian opposition, and is held under a sentence of death imposed in absentia in 2009 in relation to his political activities,” the statement recalled.
“Today Mr Tsege’s partner and three children delivered to 10 Downing Street a petition signed by nearly 130,000 people, calling on the Prime Minister to intervene to secure his release,” Reprieve said.
“The Ethiopian authorities have refused to say whether Mr Tsege’s death sentence will be carried out or not, and have not permitted him to see a lawyer or his British family. During recent visits to him by the British ambassador, Mr. Tsege has indicated that he is not being held as a regular prisoner, and has not been told by the authorities what will happen to him,” the statement further said.
Reprieve expressed concern that torture and mistreatment is common in Ethiopian prisons, and there are fears for Mr. Tsege’s mental and physical health.
“It is deeply disappointing that, nearly 600 days on from his kidnap, Andy Tsege is no closer to freedom. Andy has been subjected to an appalling ordeal – including rendition, illegal detention and an in absentia death sentence – as punishment for his political activism. There are now serious concerns for his mental and physical health. It’s clear the Foreign Office views Ethiopia’s actions as totally unacceptable – the government must do more to secure his release,” Harriet McCulloch, a deputy director at human rights organization Reprieve, which is assisting Mr. Tsege, said.