Amnesty International UK
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On 24 June 2014 Andargachew Tsige, an Ethiopian political activist, disappeared at Sana’a airport in Yemen while travelling between the United Arab Emirates and Eritrea.
No official statements have been made by the Yemeni or Ethiopian authorities about Andargachew Tsige’s whereabouts, but human rights activists in Yemen told Amnesty he was seized and taken to Ethiopia the day he landed.
Without confirmation of his location, Andargachew is at acute risk of torture.
The clock is ticking
Andargachew Tsige, a British national of Ethiopian origin, is Secretary-General of Ginbot 7 – an outlawed opposition group, deemed a terrorist organisation by the Ethiopian parliament.
In 2009, he was tried in absentia in Ethiopia and sentenced to death for an alleged coup attempt. He was prosecuted in absentia again in 2012 on terrorism charges, alongside other prisoners of conscience, and sentenced to life imprisonment.
We believe he is in serious danger of being imprisoned and ill-treated based on convictions he was unable to present a defence for.
‘Given that Mr Tsige is a political activist who has been tried and sentenced to death in his absence, and given the regularity with which political opponents are tortured, there is a real danger that Mr Tsige’s life could be at risk. The longer he remains incommunicado, the more precarious his situation. The clock is ticking.’
Amnesty International UK’s Head of Policy and Government Affairs Allan Hogarth
Silencing the opposition
Ethiopian authorities often use charges of terrorism to silence political dissent. In recent years, many activists have been kidnapped in neighbouring countries and imprisoned in Ethiopia, with the help of security forces in those countries.
Once detained, they are denied access to lawyers and family members. Political prisoners are often held in unofficial locations, where they are frequently tortured in order to extract information and confessions.
Yemen’s transfer of Andargachew Tsige to Ethiopia violates international law as no state should extradite a person to another state where they would be in danger of torture.
What we want to seeCall on the Ethiopian authorities now to guarantee Andargachew Tsige is not tortured or ill-treated.
We’re also asking the Ethiopian authorities to:
Immediately confirm where he is being held and that he has full access to legal and consular representation and family members.Ensure he is not required to serve any sentence for a conviction in absentia and any charges against him are heard in a trial meeting international standards, without the possibility of a death sentence.
Send a letter or text message
You can text FIND1 and your full name [first name, last name] to 70505 to add your name to our petition*. Over 14s only please.
If you would prefer to write your own letter, please send appeals for Andargachew Tsige’s safety before 8 August 2014 to:
Minister of Justice Getachew Ambaye
Ministry of Justice
PO Box 1370
Fax: +251 11 5517755
His Excellency Mr Berhanu Kebede
Embassy of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
17 Princes Gate
Fax: 020 7584 7054