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(ANS) – The persecution of evangelical Christians in the eastern African country of Eritrea continues to increase at an alarming rate. Currently 16 full-time pastors and nearly 900 Eritrean Christians are known to be held in prisons, military confinement camps and shipping containers for meeting secretly for prayer and worship outside government-approved churches, according to Compass Direct. None of the prisoners have been charged in court or brought to trial by government authorities, who since May 2002 have refused to legalize religious groups outside the Orthodox, Catholic, Lutheran and Muslim faiths. “The situation continues to deteriorate for Christians in Eritrea ,” says Open Doors USA President Dr. Carl A. Moeller. “Over the past year the number of evangelical Christians imprisoned for their faith has doubled. Some of them, including young people, are locked in shipping containers placed in the hot sun. In February a group of Sunday School teachers and their students were arrested while holding classes on their church compound. “Please join with me in praying for these imprisoned brothers and sisters in Christ. Open Doors USA is stepping up its advocacy on their behalf. We want to put the pressure on the Eritrean government to give religious freedom to all worshippers.” Moeller encourages Christians living in the Washington , D.C. , area to attend a peaceful demonstration on behalf of Eritrean Christians this Wednesday from noon to 1 p.m. The event, hosted by Jubilee Campaign and Christian Solidarity International, will take place at the Eritrean Embassy at 1708 New Hampshire Ave. Open Doors USA will hold a prayer vigil at its office during this time and encourages Christians around the country to lift up the needs of Eritrean believers.

To read more about what you can do, click here: 900 CHRISTIANS IN PRISONS