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General Election 2017: Partner of abducted Andy Tsege stands against Theresa May in Maidenhead

Andy Tsege's family protesting in Whitehall

Andy Tsege’s family protesting in Whitehall in February. From left: daughter Menabe, 10, partner Yemi Hailemariam, son Yilak, 10, and daughter Helawit, 17. Picture: Polly Hancock

(Islington Gazette) — The partner of abducted Upper Holloway man Andy Tsege feels so hopeless about his illegal imprisonment that she has resorted to standing against the Prime Minister in next month’s general election.

Yemi Hailemariam, of St John Street, is standing in Theresa May’s Maidenhead constituency. Her ultimate aim is to secure a meeting with Mrs May, nearly three years since Andy was jailed in his native Ethiopia.

Andy, 62, is a human rights activist who fled to the UK in 1979, becoming a citizen and making a new life in Islington. But at a trial in his absence in 2009, he was given a death sentence. And in June 2014, while waiting to catch a flight to Eritrea, Andy was abducted at an airport in Yemen.

With her husband still languishing on death row, 48-year-old Yemi announced her candidacy on Thursday, 1,052 days after Andy’s abduction.

“I just want to make a point,” she told the Gazette. “David Cameron was far more engaged, writing letters to us about the situation. Theresa May, on the other hand, has been in power for almost a year and has done nothing at all.

“She actually met the Ethiopian president on Thursday and did not engage him – which I found troubling. Nothing has changed in our case and it becomes more and more outrageous.

“That is why I am standing in this election, to highlight to her constituents how ineffectual she has been. I have no intention of winning: I am actually telling people to not vote for me! Instead, I am asking people to write to Theresa May and highlight my situation.”

Yemi, who in February handed a 28,000-strong petition to Downing Street demanding Andy’s freedom, added: “We need a prime minister who will pressure the foreign office, as [foreign secretary] Boris Johnson as done nothing, either. I’ll be campaigning around her constituency so hopefully I’ll bump into her.

“Whatever happens, she will definitely be aware of my campaign – I can promise that. My ultimate aim is to get a meeting with her, and let her know that this kind of thing cannot be tolerated with a British national.”

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office said it had provided “significant support” to Andy’s family, and that it remains “committed to ensuring his ongoing welfare”.

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