Rohrabacher: Ethiopia Must Release Opposition Leader
WASHINGTON – Rep. Dana Rohrabacher on Monday urged Ethiopia’s prime minister to release Andargachew Tsige, a native-born opposition leader with British citizenship who last month was extradicted to the African nation from Yemen under questionable circumstances.
In a letter to Prime Minister Hailemarian Desalegn, the California Republican wrote: “Mr. Andargachew is a British citizen and a leader for political reform in Ethiopia. He should be released and allowed to return to his family immediately. Any maltreatment or harm to him, or other prodemocracy activists, in your country only serves to widen the gap between our two countries.”
Andargachew was traveling from Dubai to Eritrea on June 23 when, stopping over in Yemen, he was forcibly flown back to Ethiopia, which he fled in 2005 following protests of the nation’s elections. He was granted asylum in Britain, where his wife currently lives. British officials have expressed concerns that his extradition was not properly handled.
The activist was charged with terrorism and sentenced to death in absentia. In his letter to the Ethiopian prime minister, Rohrabacher added concerns from the United States. His letter follows:
July 28, 2014
His Excellency Hailemariam Desalegn
Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
Office of the Prime Minister
P.O. Box 1031
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Dear Mr. Prime Minister,
According to recent news reports, late last month the Ethiopian government arranged for the international kidnapping of opposition leader Andargachew Tsige and his forcible return to your country.
Mr. Andargachew is a British citizen and a leader for political reform in Ethiopia. He should be released and allowed to return to his family immediately. Any maltreatment or harm to him, or other pro-democracy activists, in your country only serves to widen the gap between our two countries.
All legitimate national governments have a responsibility to respect the human rights of their citizens. The current rulers of Ethiopia only continue to isolate themselves by violating the human rights of Ethiopian citizens, especially democratic political leaders. Mr. Andargachew should be released without delay and allowed to return home.
Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats
House Committee on Foreign Affairs