Andargachew, a British national and second-in-command of an Ethiopian rebel group, Ginbot-7, was detained at Sena’a airport, Yemen, on June 23, while in transit from Dubai to Eritrea, where the group’s armed unit is stationed.
The statement from a spokesman for Britain’s the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, which was shared by Martin Plaut, states:
“We have raised, with the Ethiopian Government, the UK’s deep concerns that a British national, Andargachew Tsege, has been removed from Yemen to Ethiopia.
We have made clear that we expect immediate consular access and requested reassurances that the death penalty imposed in absentia will not be carried out.
We will continue to raise this urgently with the Ethiopian authorities.
The British Government has separately raised the completely unacceptable actions of the Yemeni government who disregarded their obligations under the Vienna Convention and Convention Against Torture and is following up further with them.”
According to Martin Plaut, Andargachew’s case was raised with Ethiopian Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn by Lynne Featherstone, Britain’s Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for International Development during a meeting in Addis Ababa on Monday 7th of July. Details of the meeting have not yet been forthcoming, but it is clear that she pressed for access to Mr Andargachew and asked for an assurance that the death penalty would not be imposed.
Ginbot-7 has been described as a “group which espouses violent overthrow of the government” in a 2011 US State Department report. It is designated as terrorist by the Ethiopian parliament and the regional inter-governmental body, IGAD. Andargachew Tsigie has been sentenced to death in absentia in connection to a foiled attempt to “overthrow the Constitutional order” in 2009.
Ethiopian and Yemeni officials have not confirmed Andargachaw’s extradition to date.