Andy Tsege has endured over 1,000 days on death row for daring to criticise the Ethiopian Government. He was kidnapped and taken to the Ethiopia’s gulag. Here are 7 scandalous facts about his case:
1. Andy Tsege has spent his whole life campaigning for Ethiopian democracy and human rights
He has spoken out about the Ethiopian regime’s terrible human rights record in front of the US Congress and the European Parliament.
2. Andy was not even in Ethiopia when the regime sentenced him to death (he was living in London with his family).
This is known as an in absentia sentence – when someone is not even in the courtroom to defend themselves. Ethiopia commonly uses this in retaliation for political opposition, falling far below even the most basic fair trial standards.
3. The Ethiopian authorities resorted to kidnapping Andy from an international airport.
He was forced onto a plane and taken back to Ethiopia to face his death sentence. This was part of a brutal crackdown on journalists and political opponents.
4. It took two weeks for Ethiopian officials to admit that they had kidnapped Andy.
As soon as Andy’s family learned of his disappearance, they came straight to Reprieve for help. For the next year, he was held in a secret prison and in solitary confinement.
5. The Ethiopian government paraded Andy on state TV
He showed signs of torture and screams can be heard in the background.
6. In 2015 Andy was moved to the infamous Kality prison, dubbed Ethiopia’s gulag.
Torture in Ethiopian prisons is widespread, and political detainees like Andy are routinely abused in order to extract information and false confessions.
7. Andy has not been able to speak to his partner and three children for over 1,000 days.
They live in London and are desperate for his return. Andy’s family have campaigned for his release since he was kidnapped in 2014.