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Foreign Office ‘fails to help Londoner jailed in Ethiopia’

ETHIOPIAN authorities have fooled Britain’s Foreign Office again and again in the case of opposition leader Andy Tsege, human rights charity Reprieve warned yesterday.

Newly released documents show that Ethiopian officials have done everything possible to frustrate attempts by Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond to rescue Londoner Andargachew “Andy” Tsege.

The father of three was taken forcibly to Ethiopia in the summer of 2014 and has been held on death row ever since.

Foreign Office documents from 2015 show Mr Hammond complaining about Ethiopia’s “repeated failure to deliver on our basic requests,” adding: “People were asking why we had a substantial bilateral relationship but were not able to resolve this.”

Other files show how the Ethiopian authorities refused to say where Mr Tsege was locked up, cancelled planned consular visits and ignored simple questions on the legal basis for his detention.

Reprieve, which has been campaigning for Mr Tsege’s release, said it feared for his mental and physical well-being as torture of political prisoners is not uncommon in Ethiopia.

The group’s death penalty team director Maya Foa said: “Throughout Andy’s two-year ordeal, Ethiopian officials have repeatedly run rings around the Foreign Office — making and breaking the most basic of assurances, and insisting, again and again, that Andy has no legal rights in Ethiopia.

“By relying on the latest empty promise of ‘legal access,’ Philip Hammond is only compounding the abuses Andy has suffered in illegal Ethiopian detention.

“Enough is enough — the Foreign Secretary must call for Andy’s release, so he can return to his family in the UK.”

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