BORIS JOHNSON must secure the immediate release of a British father from death row in Ethiopia, leading QCs demanded in a letter yesterday.
Tory MP Dominic Grieve, Labour’s Lord Falconer and Liberal Democrat peer Ken MacDonald wrote to the Foreign Secretary raising concerns about Andy Tsege, a British father of three from London.
Mr Tsege is a prominent Ethiopian opposition politician who was kidnapped by security forces in Yemen in 2014 during a stopover while travelling to Eritrea.
He was then illegally rendered to Ethiopia, where he is being held under sentence of death. Legal charity Reprieve alleges that British aid money has probably been used to train those involved in Mr Tsege’s abduction.
Mr Johnson has so far refused to call for Mr Tsege’s release, saying that the British government does not interfere in foreign judicial proceedings.
However, the letter slams the Foreign Office’s approach, arguing that British diplomats should be demanding Mr Tsege’s immediate return to this country.
Foreign Office efforts to secure legal support for Mr Tsege ignore statements by the Ethiopian prime minister and foreign minister that “there is no appeal process available to Mr Tsege.”
“It is hard to see how legal representation will help him in any way,” the letter reads.
The QCs highlight “several recent examples in which the government has intervened and sometimes been able to secure the release of British nationals arbitrarily detained abroad.”
Reprieve spokeswoman Harriet McCulloch said the letter was “a wake-up call for Boris Johnson” and that he should listen to the warnings from the top lawyers and start negotiating for Mr Tsege’s release and return to Britain.
“After three years in terrible conditions on Ethiopia’s death row, it is high time Andy is reunited with his family in London,” she insisted.
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