Boris Johnson urged to secure release of Andy Tsege, condemned man in Ethiopia

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Oct 02, 2017
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Andy Tsege is a co-founder of the opposition party Ginbot 7

Reprieve

British legal chiefs have called on the foreign secretary to press the Ethiopian authorities to release a British man who is being “unlawfully” held on death row.

Andy Tsege, a prominent figure in the Ethiopian opposition movement, was been convicted three times in the country between 2005 and 2012.

He helped to found the opposition party Ginbot 7 in 2009, which the authorities in the capital Addis Ababa declared to be a terrorist organisation. Tsege was eventually charged under Ethiopia’s criminal code, tried in absentia and sentenced to death.

Tsege was living in London when he was convicted, having been granted asylum in the UK and subsequently granted British nationality.

Three years ago, Tsege is understood to have been arrested while passing through the airport in Sana’a, Yemen, and handed to the Ethiopian security services.

In their letter to Boris Johnson, the leaders of the Law Society and the Bar Council, the bodies that represent most of the lawyers in England and Wales, said that Tsege “was not made aware during the course of either proceeding of the charges or evidence against him. Neither was he summoned to appear in court, offered an opportunity to present a defence, or to appeal the sentences imposed.”

The letter, which was signed by Joe Egan, the Law Society president, and Andrew Langdon, QC, the chairman of the Bar Council, calls on the foreign secretary to press the Ethiopian authorities for Tsege’s immediate release and return to the UK.

In the meantime, the law chiefs tell Johnson that he should “ensure that [Tsege’s] conditions in detention are in accordance with applicable international standards”.

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