I share the grave concerns expressed by my constituents about Mr Tsege's imprisonment, particularly given that he has been detained for almost two years with no legal process or access to a lawyer, and that he was sentenced to death in absentia in 2009. I oppose the death penalty in all circumstances, and I have been deeply concerned by reports of Mr Tsege's welfare.
I understand that the Foreign Secretary has now raised Mr Tsege's case with the Prime Minister of Ethiopia and with the Ethiopian Foreign Minister on a number of occasions, and urged the Ethiopian authorities to provide much needed assurances about Mr Tsege's welfare and to allow proper legal and consular access, as well visitation rights for his family. It is encouraging that the Foreign Secretary received an assurance from the Prime Minister of Ethiopia on 1 June 2016 that Mr Tsege will now be allowed access to independent legal advice.
The Leader of the Opposition has written to the Prime Minister directly about Mr Tsege, and I believe the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) must continue to raise this case with Ethiopian government at the highest levels. The House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee has also committed to monitoring Mr Tsege's case and reviewing the FCO's contribution and progress on this matter.
I hope that the Ethiopian government will listen to the concerns that have been raised and ensure that Mr Tsege is urgently given the legal support that he is entitled to and that his family's concerns regarding his physical and mental health are addressed in full.
I can assure you that I will continue to follow Mr Tsege's case closely.