Ethiopia abduction Briton feared ‘assassination’

Andargachew 'Andy' Tsege

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Andargachew ‘Andy’ Tsege was pardoned on 19 May along with 575 other inmates in Ethiopia

A man from Islington who was kidnapped and held for four years on death row in Ethiopia says he feared he was going to be “assassinated” despite being freed.

Andy Tsege had been accused of plotting a coup against the Ethiopian government and was sentenced to death in 2009.

However he was pardoned and released following diplomatic talks between the UK and Ethiopian governments.

Mr Tsege returned to London and 1 June and has spoken to the BBC about his time in Ethiopia.

The 63-year-old was granted political asylum by the UK in the 1970s after being an outspoken critic of the Ethiopian government.

In 2009, while he was living in London, the Ethiopian authorities sentenced him to death in absentia.

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A huge crowd gathered at Mr Tsege’s house to celebrate his release

Years passed without any action being taken against Mr Tsege until he travelled through an airport in Yemen in 2014.

He said: “They used tape and handcuffed me. They taped my mouth, my eyes. Then they put a sack over my head, and put me in a jeep.

“I didn’t think they would even be bothered to take me to Ethiopia or to put me in prison. I thought they would use this opportunity to eliminate me and dump me somewhere.”

During his time in prison, Mr Tsege said he shared a cell with two convicted murderers.

After being released by the Ethiopian authorities, Mr Tsege was greeted by jubilant relatives and supporters at his family home in the capital, Addis Ababa.

“I didn’t relax because as long as I was still in Ethiopia there were people who have serious, serious grievances with me.

“They could have done anything, they could have assassinated me in that crowd or stab me with a dagger.”

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