Lawyers on behalf of the daughter of a British man who was kidnapped by Ethiopian forces in 2014, are in the High Court today, in a judicial review claim against the Foreign Office about their handling of the case and failure to demand his release.
British Citizen Andargachew “Andy” Tsege, (61) a father of 3 from London, was kidnapped in June 2014 from an airport in Yemen while waiting to catch a flight to Eritrea.
In 2009, Mr Tsege was sentenced to death in absentia following a trial which lawyers on behalf of his daughter argue violated basic fair trial standards. Andy was held in secret detention and in solitary confinement for over a year, without being subjected to any form of due process.
Rosa Curling from the human rights team at Leigh Day, who is representing Menabe Andargachew, Andy’s 9 year old daughter, said:
“All evidence suggests our client’s father, Andargachew, was kidnapped by the Ethiopian authorities in Yemen. He was rendered to Ethiopia in June 2014 and held in solitary confinement for an extended period of time. He remains arbitrarily detained without access to a lawyer and is now facing the death penalty.
“In such circumstances, we can see no basis upon which the UK authorities can continue to deny that Andargachew was kidnapped by the Ethiopian authorities, to press for Andargachew to undergo a legal process in Ethiopia, and to refuse to request his immediate return to the UK.
“We have advised our client that the government's decisions are unlawful and we hope the UK court will now step in and force them to do the right thing. This situation cannot be allowed to continue for any longer.
“The UK authorities must distance themselves from the criminal behaviour of their Ethiopian counterparts. There is no possibility for Andargachew to be given any fair hearing – indeed Ethiopia has not only stated that there is no hearing to be held but has for two years now provided no access to a court.
“The suggestion by the UK authorities that Andargachew should seek his release through the Ethiopian courts is nonsensical. Even if he was given access to a court, he will not have a fair hearing and the UK authorities must be aware of this. There is widespread criticism and a mass of evidence that shows there is no hope of Andargachew receiving a fair trial in Ethiopia.
“The UK authorities must know that if the Ethiopians had sought Andargachew’s extradition from the UK for the charges and/or prison sentence he currently faces, it would have been refused.”