Standing shoulder to shoulder with Ethiopia
This week, thousands of Reprieve supporters got together to amplify the desperate calls from Andy Tsege’s family for the British government to demand his immediate release from incommunicado detention under sentence of death in Ethiopia. Thank you to everyone who joined with us.
Wednesday’s UK-Ethiopia Trade Forum took place on the 485th day of Andy’s incommunicado detention under sentence of death. As it began, Africa Minister Grant Shapps had received 23,000 emails urging him to use this opportunity to demand Andy’s release. By the end of the day it was over 30,000.
But the day passed with no demands for Andy’s freedom being made – only a promise from Grant Shapps to stand ‘shoulder to shoulder’ with Ethiopia. His promise will be of no comfort to Andy and his desperate family – or to the thousands of us who want to see Andy returned immediately.
Later, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond made the following statement:
“I have again raised the case of Andargachew Tsege and made it clear that the way he has been treated is unacceptable. I welcome the improvement in access to him, following the British Government’s intervention, but it must be more regular and it must include access to a lawyer.
“I am still not satisfied that Mr Tsege has been given an ability to challenge his detention through a legal process, something we are now pursuing further. The Foreign Office will continue to provide consular support to Mr Tsege and his family.”
One thing was missing from his statement – the demand for Andy’s immediate release that we’ve been campaigning for.
Andy is a British father who is the victim of a series of terrible abuses by the Ethiopian government – from kidnap to torture to an in absentia death sentence. He was held in solitary confinement at an unknown location for over a year, before being recently transferred to a prison known as ‘Ethiopia’s gulag’. The UN has demanded Andy’s return, and thousands of us have called for his freedom.
The British government must do the same if Andy is to be returned to his partner and three children in London. Everything we do to keep up the pressure is vital – we have to make sure we highlight every opportunity, and every failure to demand Andy’s freedom.
Thank you to everyone who has been part of this campaign.
Andy Tsege – kidnapped and sentenced to death for campaigning for democracy and human rights
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.