Family of British citizen on death row in Ethiopia launch legal bid to bring him home


The family of Andargachew "Andy" Tsege, a British national who is being arbitrarily detained in Ethiopia pursuant to a death sentence imposed in absentia, have launched judicial review proceedings in a bid to bring him home.


A well-known and respected critic of the Ethiopian government, Mr Tsege was granted refugee status in the UK having fled political persecution in Ethiopia in 1979.  On 23 June 2014, Mr Tsege was abducted during a two-hour stopover at Sana'a Airport in Yemen and unlawfully rendered to Ethiopia.  He was detained incommunicado at a secret location for a year.  Nearly two years on, Mr Tsege is still held in detention and has not been given access to a court, access to a lawyer, or any unsupervised consular access throughout his time in detention.  He is at risk of the death penalty, which was imposed following a trial in his absence in 2009.  His family hold grave concerns for his mental and physical health and wellbeing.


Mr Tsege’s legal team have obtained determinations of arbitrary detention and risk of torture by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the Special Rapporteur on Torture.  However, the UK government persists in pursuing 'due process' in Ethiopia and refuses to request Mr Tsege’s release and repatriation.


Mr Tsege's daughter has now brought judicial review proceedings challenging the Foreign Secretary's decision not to request Mr Tsege’s release and return but to pursue proceedings in Ethiopia, despite the admission that there is no judicial process available to Mr Tsege in Ethiopia.  The proceedings also challenge the Foreign Secretary's refusal to treat Mr Tsege’s case as one of kidnap, despite the facts meeting all the criteria for kidnap under English law. 


Ben Cooper and Katie O'Byrne act for Menabe Andargachew and her family, instructed by Rosa Curling of Leigh Day and working closely with Reprieve.  


The case has been covered by NBC News and on Good Morning Britain. 

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