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Independent election candidate aims to raise awareness about husband’s imprisonment

Will Taylor

Will Taylor

Independent election candidate aims to raise awareness about husband’s imprisonment

Yemi Hailemariam (left) with her family

A candidate standing against the Prime Minister hopes she will raise awareness of her husband’s imprisonment abroad instead of winning votes.

Yemi Hailemariam, from Islington in London, has campaigned for the Government to do more to secure the release of her partner Andargachew Tsege, who is prominent in Ethiopian politics.

Since becoming a political refugee in the UK in 1979, Ethiopia-born Andargachew, 62, has been critical of the regimes in the African country and visited on occasion.

Programming worker Yemi said that in June 2014, Andargachew was travelling through Sana’a airport in Yemen when he was detained and rendered to Ethiopia.

Yemi said the circumstances around the detention were still unclear.

Reprieve, the human rights group, says on its website that Andargachew – a father of three – was sentenced to death after he was tried in absentia while he was in London, was held secretly and kept in solitary confinement for a year.

“The Government has not done much,” 48-year-old Yemi said.

“The current PM has not done anything.

“The Government claims it is one of the top priorities.”

She believed that while politicians expressed their sadness and intent to do something, no action was being taken.

Mrs May has met Hailemariam Desalegn, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia.

“I find it very sad and upsetting that the PM has not taken the time, especially as she has been in contact with her counterpart,” Yemi said.

She hoped her candidacy would allow her to be able to bring the issue to Mrs May’s attention, and encourage her constituents to raise Andargachew’s imprisonment with her.

While focusing more on raising awareness than votes, Yemi said her aims included meeting Maidenhead constituents in order to ‘get some kind of relationship’ with them.

She would also like to ‘get some kind of meeting’ with Mrs May and ‘let the Foreign Office know we are not going to go away’.

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