Councillors call on government to secure release of British freedom fighter held on death row in Ethiopia

Published: 8 July, 2016

by KOOS COUVÉE

COUNCILLORS have unanimously passed a motion calling on the UK government to do more to secure the release of a Holloway man who has been held on death row in Ethiopia for two years.

Andy Tsege, a 61-year-old British citizen
Andy Tsege, a 61-year-old British citizen

Andy Tsege, a 61-year-old British citizen, was kidnapped and rendered to Ethiopia by forces of that country in June 2014. He remains held there under a sentence of death imposed in absentia in 2009 in relation to his political opposition to the Ethiopian government.

A motion passed at last Thursday’s full council meeting, submitted by Clerkenwell councillors Alice Donovan and James Court, expressed “great concern and dismay” over the detention kidnapping and illegal rendition of Mr Tsege, adding: “The council wishes to remind the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, of the series of unlawful acts perpetrated against Mr Tsege by a Foreign State.

“This council is very concerned by the Ethiopian government’s continuing use of the country’s legislative and judicial framework to stifle dissent and convict political opponents, including Mr Tsege, in politically motivated trials […] and regrets that the government has not yet urged the Ethiopian government to release Mr Tsege’s.”

Town Hall leader Richard Watts will now write to foreign secretary Phillip Hammond to urge him to make further representations to the Ethiopian government calling for Mr Tsege’s release.

The Ethiopian freedom fighter’s children Menabe, nine, her twin brother Yilak and sister Helawit, 16, and mother Yemi Hailemariam live in Clerkenwell. They are continuing their campaign for Mr Tsege’s release.

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