Britain urged Ethiopia for assurance that Andargachew Tsige will not be executed

By Press Association

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The Ethiopian government has been pressed to provide guarantees that a British national facing the death penalty will not be executed.

Political activist Andargachew Tsige has been detained in Ethiopia for six weeks following his removal from Yemen and denied consular access from British officials, the Foreign Office said.

He is secretary general of the banned Ginbot 7 movement, with reports stating he was sentenced to death in his absence in 2009 for plotting a coup – charges he and others denied.

Demeke Atnafu, charge d’affaires at the Ethiopian embassy in the UK, was summoned to the Foreign Office to meet Africa Minister Mark Simmonds.

In a statement, the Foreign Office said: “Mr Simmonds expressed deep concern that the Ethiopian authorities had not allowed consular access to Mr Andargachew Tsige, a British national who has now been detained in Ethiopia for six weeks after being removed from Yemen.

“Mr Simmonds asked the charge to urge his government to deliver on previous commitments to provide consular access without further delay and to provide assurances that they do not intend to carry out the death penalty imposed in absentia.”

Amnesty International says Ethiopian opposition leader Mr Tsige disappeared at Sana’a airport in Yemen while travelling between the United Arab Emirates and Eritrea in June.

They have asked the Ethiopian authorities to guarantee he is not tortured or ill-treated.