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Freed Andy Tsege says thanks to his supporters

Pro-democracy campaigner was illegally imprisoned in an Ethiopian jail for four years

28 June, 2018 — By Emily Finch

Andy, centre, with, from left, Raphael Andrews, Alice Donovan-Hart, James Court, Yemi and Cllr Watts

A FREED pro-democracy campaigner met the Town Hall councillors who pressed for his release for the first time on Wednesday.

Andy Tsege was illegally imprisoned in an Ethiopian jail for four years until his release last month.

The former Upper Holloway resident was kidnapped at Yemen international airport and transported to Ethiopia, where he was held under horrific conditions in prison. A determined activist, he has called for democratic change in the country he was expelled from in the 1970s.

Mr Tsege met former Clerkenwell councillors – his partner Yemi Hailemariam lives there – who tabled a motion at full council two years ago calling for his release. He spoke to Alice Donovan-Hart, Raphael Andrews and James Court, who all stepped down from their seats at last month’s council elections.

Town Hall leader Richard Watts, who wrote to the then foreign secretary Phillip Hammond urging him to call for Mr Tsege’s release, said: “We are delighted to welcome him home and pleased the Ethiopian government finally saw sense. He should not have been in prison in the first place.

“Yemi has been a core part of the Islington community and did so much campaigning to get him back. We are so delighted to host him today.”

Mr Tsege will start a tour of Europe and America next month to speak about his ordeal to support­ers and his hopes for the future of Ethiopia.

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