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Boris Johnson Urged to Intervene to Save Briton on Death Row in Ethiopia


Heads of Law Society and Bar Council ask foreign secretary to seek release of Briton national Andargachew Tsege, who was kidnapped in 2014

By Owen Bowcott (The Guardian) |

Boris Johnson has been urged by the heads of both branches of the legal profession to call for the release of a Briton who was abducted in Yemen and is now on death row in Ethiopia.

The president of the Law Society, Joe Egan, and the chair of the Bar Council, Andrew Langdon QC, have written to the foreign secretary to ask him to intervene more forcefully in the case of Andargachew Tsege.

Johnson has said he will “not interfere in the legal systems of other countries” and that calling for his release would not “be helpful at this stage”.

Andargachew, known as Andy, was kidnapped in 2014 and forcibly flown to the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, and is an opponent of the regime. He holds British citizenship. His partner, Yemi Hailemariam, and their three children are also British and live in the UK. She has not spoken to him for nearly three years.

Andargachew, 63, had previously been secretary general of Ginbot 7, a political opposition party that called for democracy, free elections and civil rights in Ethiopia. He first came to the UK in 1979.

Andargachew was traveling from Dubai to Eritrea in June 2014 when his flight stopped over in Yemen. It is believed Yemeni security staff handed him over to the Ethiopians.

The letter to Johnson from Egan and Langdon says they are very concerned about the situation of Andargachew, who is “unlawfully detained on death row”. It points out that he was tried in absentia, without notice and sentenced to death in 2009.

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