Ethiopian-Americans are outraged by news of the illegal detention on June 23, 2014 of Mr. Andargachew Tsege, Secretary General of Ginbot 7, Movement for Justice, Freedom and Democracy while in transit at Sanaa International Airport in Yemen. Mr. Tsege was travelling with a United Kingdom passport at the time of his detention.
Mr. Tsege, a well-known pro-democracy and human rights activist in his ancestral homeland, Ethiopia, presents no threat to Yemen or to the Yemeni authorities. Mr. Tsege was imprisoned in Ethiopia for his political activities during the ill-fated election of 2005 and has escaped assassination attempts by the dictatorship in Ethiopia whose brutality, is well documented by international human rights groups and the United States State Department. He has been convicted and sentenced to death in absentia by the tyrannical regime in Ethiopia. We are particularly concerned that the continued illegal detention of Mr. Tsege, a renowned critic of the Ethiopian government is politically motivated and against international law.
It is now universally recognized that the Ethiopian regime subjects political opposition, human rights defenders, journalists and critics of the government in general, to persecution including threats, intimidation, arbitrary arrests and detentions, politically motivated trials, enforced disappearances and torture , extra-judicial killings.
Unconfirmed reports have come out from Ethiopia that the Ethiopian government has requested the extradition of Mr. Tsege to Ethiopia. The principle of non-refoulement is well established in customary international law, prohibiting states, in this case Yemen, from extraditing Mr.Tsege to Ethiopia where he will certainly face torture and even death by the brutal regime of Ethiopia.
It’s unconscionable that the Government of Yemen would hand Mr. Tsege over summarily to the security forces of the Ethiopian regime whose persecution of its critics at home and abroad is well documented.
We respectfully urge the Government of Yemen:
- To release Mr. Tsege immediately and unconditionally;
- To respect its solemn obligations under international law and release Mr Tesge immediately and unconditionally;
- To immediately inform his family and loved ones of his whereabouts;
- To allow ICRC representatives to visit him wherever he is being held;
- To stop any illegal renditions the regime in Ethiopia may have requested.
We urge all human rights defenders and advocates to speak out against the illegal detention of Mr. Tsege and call on the government of Yemen for his unconditional and immediate release.