Thank you for contacting me. I am deeply concerned about British national Andargachew Tsege's situation.
The Government takes the detention and welfare of Mr Tsege very seriously. The Foreign Secretary has raised Mr Tsege's case with his Ethiopian counterpart on three occasions, most recently during the UN General Assembly in September. During that conversation he pressed the Ethiopian Foreign Minister to follow through with the commitment made by the Ethiopian Prime Minister to allow Mr Tsege access to independent legal advice so that he can discuss his options under the Ethiopian legal system. The Government will continue to press the Ethiopians to ensure that Mr Tsege has legal representation.
A senior FCO official met with Mr Tsege in June to seek assurances about his welfare, and the British Ambassador to Ethiopia visited him in November. I am relieved to hear that Mr Tsege is not being ill-treated and that he is receiving regular visits from family members in Ethiopia.
Britain does not interfere in the legal systems of other countries, any more than we would accept interference in our judicial system. The consular role is to ensure well-being and access to legal advice and the Government will continue to support Mr Tsege and his family in this capacity.
The UK opposes the death penalty in all circumstances as a matter of principle and the Government continues to call on all countries around the world that retain the death penalty to cease its use.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.