How have you spent the last one thousand days of your life? Imagine you spent that time illegally locked up on death row. Your government has not helped you. You have no chance of appeal, and you’re not allowed to speak to your family.
On 20th March 2017, Andy Tsege will spend his 1,000th day in an Ethiopian prison, where he is being held illegally. While changing planes at an international airport in 2014, Andy was bound, hooded, and kidnapped, then put on a plane to Ethiopia.
His “crimes”? His opposition to Ethiopia’s brutal and oppressive Government, and his efforts to bring democracy to the country. Andy was sentenced to death in absentia, meaning he was not present for his own trial (which international observers agreed was “an act of political retaliation… lacking in basic elements of due process”). His sentence is unlawful under international law.
In 1979, fearing for his safety, Andy sought political asylum in Britain, later becoming a British citizen.
Back home in London, his partner and three children are campaigning tirelessly for his release, by talking to the media, organising demonstrations, and writing letters to MPs. They host a birthday vigil every year; they have performed plays and songs about their dad, and their home is filled with photos of the father that they just want home.
Despite the catalogue of abuses Andy has faced, the UK government has so far failed to secure his return to the UK. It has focused instead on getting him a lawyer, despite there being no way of appealing his death sentence under the compromised Ethiopian justice system. Now, it’s time to ramp up the pressure.
Bring Andy home
Human rights charity Reprieve has been working hard to try and bring Andy home. They have called on the UK government to negotiate Andy’s safe return. Now, you can join the fight.
The British public has a strong voice, and if the shouting is loud enough, it will be hard to ignore. Here’s how you could make a real difference to Andy’s future:
- Sign the petition and demand Andy’s return to the UK. It’s your government, so tell them what matters to you.
- Drop into a Lush store and write a postcard to Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. Your messages will be delivered to The Foreign Office.
- Get social. Break the internet with demands to #FreeAndyTsege. If you need a few ideas to kick things off, you might like to send a tweet to @BorisJohnson.
Buy One, Set One Free
Bathe in the warm glow of doing the right thing, then bask in an orange sea of orris root and neroli. Breathe in the smell of freedom.
All the proceeds from the Buy One, Set One Free bath bomb will go to Reprieve (apart from the VAT, which goes to the government), helping them get justice for people like Andy.
Andy’s children have spent 1,000 days of their childhood fighting for their dad’s freedom. Andy is not being given the opportunity to speak, and he needs the voice of the British public.