Andy Tsege

Andargachew Tsege– also known as Andy – is a father of three from London. A prominent figure in Ethiopian politics, in June 2014 he was kidnapped and rendered to Ethiopia on the command of the Ethiopian government as part of a brutal crackdown on political opponents and civil rights activists.

After being kidnapped, Andy was held in secret detention and in solitary confinement for over a year, without access to any form of due process. He has been paraded on Ethiopian TV looking ill and gaunt. He was given an in absentia death sentence in 2009, he could be executed at any time. Despite this, the British government refuses to demand his release.

What can we do?

Join over 6,500 people and go on record to demand Andy’s freedom. Yes, I’ll go on record

We know the impact a demand from a country on behalf of its citizen can have in a case like this – for Andy, it could mean the difference between life and death. And we can’t see why the government is not living up to its responsibilities. If Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond won’t do the right thing and demand Andy’s release, then it’s up to all of us – the British people. That’s why we’re creating a register of everyone who is willing go on record and demand Andy’s freedom.

Andy was born in Ethiopia and is a well-known and respected critic of the Ethiopian government. In recent years he has spoken out about the current regime’s poor human rights record in front of US Congress and the EU’s Committee on Human Rights. Andy fled Ethiopia in the 1970s after facing serious threats from the then-government for his democratic political beliefs. His younger brother Amha had already been murdered by government security forces. Andy sought political asylum in the UK in 1979 and has lived here ever since.

On 23 June 2014, Andy was abducted from an airport in Yemen while waiting to catch a flight to Eritrea. It was only two weeks later that Ethiopian officials admitted to the UK government that they had kidnapped him. They had forced him onto a plane and unlawfully ‘rendered’ him to Ethiopia. In 2009, he was sentenced to death in absentia following a trial which violated basic fair trial standards. Following his kidnap, Andy was held in secret detention and in solitary confinement for over a year, without being subjected to any form of due process.

In around July 2015, he was apparently moved to the infamous Kality prison, dubbed “Ethiopia’s gulag”. Throughout his ordeal, Andy has not been allowed access to his family, a lawyer, or proper consular access with British officials. He has not been charged with any crime or subjected to any form of legal process whatsoever. TsegeIn July 2014, Ethiopian state TV aired a heavily-edited video of Andy apparently ‘confessing’ to a number of offences. In the video, he appears gaunt and disoriented, and has noticeably lost weight. Screaming can be heard in the background. Torture in Ethiopian prisons is extremely widespread, and political detainees like Andy are routinely abused in order to extract information and false confessions.

Andy’s partner Yemi, their teenage daughter and young twins are desperately worried about him. Reprieve is calling on the UK government to do all it can to investigate the kidnap and brutal imprisonment of one of its citizens and secure Andy’s immediate release.

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