British dad spends 1000th day on Ethiopia’s death row

March 20, 2017

A father-of-three from London has now spent 1000 days on Ethiopia’s death row, after the country’s security forces kidnapped and rendered him there in June 2014.

Andargachew ‘Andy’ Tsege, a vocal critic of Ethiopia’s ruling party, disappeared while transiting through an international airport almost three years ago.

Ethiopian officials later admitted to having illegally ‘rendered’ him to a secret prison, in a process which British diplomats privately deemed “completely unacceptable”.

Mr Tsege is being held unlawfully under a death sentence that was handed down in absentia, when he lived in North London with his partner and their three young children.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has failed to secure Mr Tsege’s return to the UK, despite visiting Ethiopia for the first time as recently as last week.

Mr Johnson claimed on Friday (17th) to have secured progress on the case, saying that Mr Tsege has been promised regular access to a lawyer.

However, the UK government’s focus on legal access for Mr Tsege has caused dismay among MPs from across the political spectrum.

A former Attorney-General, Director of Public Prosecutions and Lord Chancellor have all warned that: “The British Government’s emphasis on securing Mr Tsege a lawyer ignores statements by the Ethiopian Prime Minister and Foreign Minister confirming that ‘there is no appeal process’ available to Mr Tsege.”

Maya Foa, a director of Reprieve, said:

“It is appalling that Andy Tsege is spending his 1,000th day on death row in Ethiopia, just days after Boris Johnson missed a vital chance to seek his return to the UK. It’s clear there is no justice for Andy in the compromised Ethiopian court system, and it’s hard to see how a lawyer can help him when the Ethiopians have said he has no way of appealing his death sentence. It’s time for the UK Government to bring this British father home.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

1. Reprieve is an international human rights organization. Reprieve’s London office can be contacted on +44 (0) 7792 351 660. Reprieve US, based in New York City, can be contacted on Katherine [dot] oshea [at] reprieve.org / +1 917 855 8064.

2. On Monday (20th) at 2.30pm, Mr Tsege’s partner and children will go to the Foreign Office to hand in a petition calling on Boris Johnson to secure his return to the UK.

3. Further detail on Mr Tsege’s case can be found on the Reprieve website, here.