Doughty Street Chambers
Ben Cooper, Katherine O’Byrne
British national and father of three Mr Andargachew Tsege has been arbitrarily detained for a year in Ethiopia pursuant to a death sentence imposed in his absence.
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 has since been held in an undisclosed location. He has no access to a lawyer or regular consular assistance, and no information has been provided as to the conditions of his detention.
It is clear that Mr Tsege’s mental condition is now precarious. During a rare visit with the British Ambassador to Ethiopia, held under the supervision of government security officers, Mr Tsege told the Ambassador that he saw no reason to stay alive.
Ben Cooper and Katie O’Byrne act for Mr Tsege’s partner Ms Yemi Hailemariam, instructed by Rosa Curling of Leigh Day, in partnership with 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.
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