Helawit Hailemariam, daughter of detained British national Andy Tsege, wins Liberty Young Person Award 2015

Helawit (“Holly”), aged 16, has won the prestigious Christine Jackson Young Person Award at the Liberty Human Rights Awards 2015 for her work in co-developing the play “Ask” along with four of her close friends at the Islington Community Theatre.


The play forms part of Helawit’s family’s campaign to pressure the British Government to ask for the release of her father, democracy activist Andargachew Tsege, who is being arbitrarily detained in Ethiopia pursuant to two death sentences imposed in absentia. 


A well-known and respected critic of the Ethiopian government, Mr Tsege was granted refugee status on political grounds by the UK 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, where he was held in an unknown location for over a year. 


He currently has no access to a lawyer or regular consular assistance, and very little information has been provided as to the conditions of his detention.  His family hold grave concerns for his mental health and wellbeing.


Ben Cooper and Katie O'Byrne act for Helawit’s mother and Mr Tsege’s partner, Ms Yemi Hailemariam, instructed by Rosa Curling of Leigh Day and supported by Reprieve.  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.


“Ask” has played to packed audiences at Islington Community Theatre and more recently at the Royal Court’s Tottenham Project.  It will continue to be developed as part of the campaign.


News coverage and more information about the case can be found:

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