British Man Andy Tsege’s human rights can’t be sacrificed in the name of ‘prosperity’
I was very distressed to read the Independent article “Human rights are no longer a ‘top priority’ for the Government, says Foreign Office chief” on 2nd October 2015. My family is the human face and the victim of this policy!
My partner, Andargachew “Andy” Tsege – a British man was kidnapped in Yemen and illegally rendered to Ethiopia in June 2014 where he has been held for over 15 months in incommunicado detention without charge and without any form of legal process. Philip Hammond’s Foreign Office has yet to ask for his release. They still have not given me a reason why they have not asked for his release 15 months after his incommunicado detention!
I feel my question I have been asking for the past 15 months has been finally answered. Sir Simon McDonald, the top civil servant in the FCO has publicly declared that it is now government policy to ignore the various human rights abuses committed by UK’s ‘allies’ on their own nationals – and we can also assume FCO will also fail to protect its own nationals, like Andy, as well when committed by the ‘allies’. I can only say that the FCO is facing a serious crisis when it starts abandoning its own citizens and our ideals of freedom, human rights and democracy for the sake of ‘prosperity’.
It just breaks my heart the way in which Andy’s case is being handled by this government. It absolutely beggars belief. It is surely not too much for a British national to expect that his government will protect him and his human rights when he is kidnapped by a foreign power and returned to a country he has fled as a refugee simply for expressing his democratic freedom? It is distressful to see that the ‘prosperity’ agenda can possibly override what has happened to Andy:
1) He was kidnapped at an international airport.
2) He was illegally rendered to Ethiopia by the Ethiopian authorities the same day.
3) He was held in solitary confinement for over year, with serious concerns that he was being tortured.
4) His recent move to “Ethiopia’s gulag” has been acknowledged as “moot” by British Ambassador to Ethiopia Greg Dorey.
5) He has not been charged with any crime or subjected to any form of due process. Worse, he is being held under a death sentence imposed in absentia and at risk of execution at any time!
6) His government (UK Foreign Office) have not been allowed proper consular access to him.
7) He was has not been allowed access to a lawyer at all.
How could the Foreign Office not acknowledge that whatever their previous strategy on the case it has been entirely unsuccessful.
Why should our children be forced to spend another Christmas without their dad especially when his government can do something to save him? I should not have to tell them that their dad will be spending another Christmas away from them.
William Hague’s words: “pursuing a foreign policy with a conscience is the right thing to do” were words which I have always agreed with wholeheartedly, but which now resonate with me in a way that I hope they will never have to resonate with anyone who reads this article! Andy’s human rights can’t be sacrificed in the name of ‘prosperity’. If the FCO allows for this to happen, then we will all be worse off. We just need to look around the world to get proofs!
Please sign our “Free Andargachew” petition: http://38degrees.org.uk/freeandy
Take Action (Write to your MP): https://reprieve.bsd.net/page/speakout/free-andy-tsege
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