Eritrea Arrests Praying Women and Children
Washington , D.C. (May 13, 2010)–International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on May 9, Eritrean officials arrested eleven Christians, including women and children, in the Eritrean capital of Asmara .
Pastor Mesfin, Pastor Tekie, Mr. Isaac and his four children, and four women were arrested while conducting a prayer meeting at a private home in Maitemenai, Asmara .
The detainees are members of Faith Church of Christ. The church has existed in Eritrea since 1950. It was among the evangelical churches that were banned by Eritrean officials in 2002. Eritrea only recognizes four religious groups: Islam, the Eritrean Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholic Church and the Lutheran Evangelical Church of Eritrea. All the other religious groups are considered illegal and can’t even conduct worship services at private homes.
Eritrean officials have imprisoned more than 3,000 Christians for exercising their religious freedom. The imprisoned Christians are kept under inhumane conditions in underground dungeons, metal shipping containers, and military barracks. Several Christians have been paralyzed and blinded, and have even died inside prisons. The imprisoned have never been charged before any court of law.
Speaking to ICC, a well known Eritrean Christian based in the United States said, “The persecution of Christians in Eritrea is going from bad to worse. The number of Christians who are fleeing the country is increasing. Unless the international Christian community helps the Eritrean Christians, their plight will be intensified.”
ICC’s Regional Manager for Africa , Jonathan Racho, said “We are extremely saddened to hear about the illegal imprisonment of the eleven Christians. We are concerned with the safety of the detainees, particularly the children. We urge Eritrea to immediately release these eleven Christians and the 3,000 Christians who have been imprisoned due to their faith in Jesus Christ.”