Celebrities join London family’s call on Downing Street to secure dad’s release

Celebrities including Sara Pascoe will today join the family of Andy Tsege, a kidnapped British man, and hand in a 24,000-strong Downing Street petition calling on the Prime Minister to seek his release.

British man Andargachew ‘Andy’ Tsege is held under a sentence of death in Ethiopia, after he was kidnapped and rendered to the country in 2014. Andy is a well-known critic of the Ethiopian ruling party, and he was sentenced to death in absentia in 2009 while he was living in London.

“Andy’s unlawful detention under sentence of death is nothing short of a disgrace. It’s been two years since Andy’s family in London have been able to speak to him, and they are heartbroken at the thought of another Christmas without him. Andy’s in absentia death sentence, his kidnap and rendition to Ethiopia, and his continued detention amount to a series of grave abuses against a British citizen. Now more than ever, Theresa May must urgently request Andy’s return home to the UK.”
Maya Foa, Director at Reprieve

Earlier this month, it emerged the Foreign Office had recently lost consular contact with him, and that he was ‘in fear for his life.’

Today, Andy’s partner and three children – who have not been able to speak to him since December 2014 – will deliver a petition of 24,000 signatures to Downing Street, calling on the Prime Minister to seek his return from Ethiopia.

Menabe and Yemi

The Government has so far declined to request Andy’s release, instead calling for him to receive legal representation – something which, to date, has not happened. Last month it emerged that the Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, had raised the issue of legal access three times with his counterpart since taking office, with no result.

Human rights organization Reprieve and several MPs have voiced concerns with the Government’s approach, raising fears that Andy faces no prospect of due process in Ethiopia.