9 July 2014

Ethiopia: Opposition Leader to Face the "Consequences" Despite British Nationality, Says Ethiopian Government

Photo: Amnesty International UK
Detained Ethiopian British opposition leader, Andargachew Tsige.

Ginbot 7 opposition leader Andargachew Tsige has appeared on Ethiopian state television in prison following his extradition from Yemen. Ethiopian government spokesman Shimeles Kemal told RFI on Wednesday that the British national will face the consequences of his actions under Ethiopian law. Andargachew has been sentenced to death in absentia for planning to assassinate government officials - a charge he denies.

What was said on Ethiopian television when Andargachew appeared?

It was said that the Yemeni authorities have handed over him when he was travelling to Eritrea via Yemen. On the basis of a pre-established exchange of criminals, fugitives, Mr Andargachew has been handed over to the Ethiopian authorities. It is to be recalled that this person is has been tried in absentia and convicted successively on different occasions by Ethiopian courts for being involved in clandestine terrorist activities. The press statement issued on the television depicted his picture that he indeed has been put in prison in Ethiopia and the statement also said that the fact that he holds a UK passport cannot insulate him from being accountable under Ethiopian law.

Will he face the death penalty?

Whatever the consequences, the law applying in this case is the Ethiopian law.

Have the British authorities made representations to the Ethiopian government?

I'm not aware of that conduct on behalf of the British government. But what the press release issued by the joint counter-terrorist taskforce in Ethiopia says is that no matter whose citizenship one may have, once he gets involved, and this has been proven in a court of law, accountability will be in Addis Ababa.

As we understand he was previously tried in absentia, will he face a retrial?

I don't think so because he has never appeared. While someone has travelled to him for appearance, he has wilfully and deliberately disregarded the jurisdiction and the power of the courts.

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