As Andy Tsege spent his thousandth day illegally held on death row in Ethiopia, his family took their campaign to the Foreign Office.
Flanked by giant orange postcards, classmates of Andy Tsege’s daughter Menabe filled Westminster with their song of protest: “One thousand days too long.”
On the back of the three campaign postcards were words written by each of his children.
“We miss our dad and we shouldn’t have to miss him,” read a postcard signed by seventeen-year-old Holly.
Shadow Minister for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Liz McInnes joined the demonstration. She said: “We’re doing everything we can to make sure Andy’s case doesn’t go off the radar and to make sure this government is looking to secure his release.”
Over 50,000 people have signed a petition organised by human rights charity Reprieve, calling on the UK government to negotiate the British citizen’s release.
Ahead of delivering the postcards to the Foreign Office, Andy Tsege’s partner Yemi said: “Today it’s 1,000 days since Andy was kidnapped and rendered to Ethiopia, and we’re here to ask Boris to do more to get him home.”
Yemi went through the Foreign Office security to deliver the campaign and quickly returned with a promise that the petition would be looked at.
Reprieve said that there has been a lot of momentum on the case, including engagement from MPs.
Maya Foa, Reprieve Director, said: “Today we want to raise awareness that this is the thousandth day that Andy, a British citizen, has spent on death row, without his family - his kids are growing up in London without their dad. We want everyone to know that that is unacceptable. The British government can and should be doing more to help Andy and to bring him home.”
Boris Johnson recently visited Ethiopia, during which he secured access to a lawyer for Andy. Yemi has also been told that she may now visit her partner in Ethiopia for the first time.
While changing planes at an international airport in 2014, Andy Tsege, a prominent figure in Ethiopian opposition politics, was bound, hooded, and put on a plane. He was taken to Ethiopia, and has been imprisoned there on death row ever since.
This vocal critic of the Ethiopian government has previously called for democracy in the country.
In 1979, fearing for his safety, Andy sought political asylum in Britain, later becoming a British citizen.
Andy Tsege was given two life sentences and one death sentence in absentia, meaning he was not present for his own court case. This is unlawful under international law. He has also been told he has no chance of appeal.
Andy Tsege’s brother Bezuneh also joined the demonstration. He said: “It means everything to bring him back home, where he belongs.”
Read more about Andy Tsege’s story